ANNA – The Melissa Cardinals’ season came to an end on Friday, May 18, with a 10-0 run-rule loss to No. 1 Argyle in the Class 4A Region II quarterfinals at the Anna Sports Complex. The Eagles, who’d bested Melissa, 7-5, on Thursday, erupted for seven fifth-inning runs on Friday to close out this best-of-three series early. Argyle starter Sean Bolin allowed just three hits and walked no one as the Eagles’ 16-hit attack provided back up.
“We’ve had offensive explosions like that this year,” Argyle head coach Ricky Griffin said. “It’s nice to know that it can happen. What’s really nice to know is that the sophomores at the bottom of the lineup really got us going.” As for Bolin’s mastery, Griffin said, “I was trying to take him out after four innings [versus Aubrey last week] and he just talked me out of it. Those last three innings, he looked like he did tonight. I was hoping that it maybe kick-started him and would push into tonight, and it did.”
“It wasn’t really anything we did,” Melissa head coach Jason Russell said. “They did it. They hit the ball well. They hit where we weren’t and they made us pay on the bases. They play the game the right way. That’s a dang good ball club. We definitely won’t be shocked if we see them playing in Austin in three weeks. Hats off to Coach Griffin and those guys. They do a heck of a job and that’s a heck of a team.
“That guy’s really good,” Russell said of Bolin. “He’s committed to Baylor for a reason. He does a great job of changing speeds, working in and out and up and down. He’s tough.”
Melissa pitcher Krisjon Segleski went 4.1 innings, eventually allowing 15 hits after a strong start while striking out five and walking one. “Krisjon ran out of a little bit of gas in this one,” Russell said, “but I can’t explain how proud I am of him — him going out there and competing.” Said Segleski, “That’s a good team right there. If you’re going to lose to a team you want it to be to a team like that.”
Brady Morrison came on in relief with the Cards down, 9-0, and recorded one out before the Eagles ended it with an RBI single.
Argyle (32-0) will face Texarkana Pleasant Grove in the regional semifinals next week.
The Eagles scratched their first run across in the first inning after back-to-back two-out singles by Chad Ricker and Dillon Carter. The runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball, then Ricker raced home on another passed ball that looked to be a foul tip.
The score remained 1-0 until the fourth when Argyle slapped three-straight singles to load the bases with no outs. After Russell’s visit to the mound, a chopper to shortstop Isaiah Segovia resulted in a force out at home but Cade Merka would follow with a two-run single to center field. After a fly ball to Sean Turnage in center for Out 2, an opposite-field single to right loaded the bases again. Segleski exited the jam with a ground-out to Tyler Womack at second.
Turnage led off the fifth with a single to right and Andrew Cole sacrifice-bunted him to second. But after Trevor Brooks’ ground-out moved Turnage to third, Bolin ended the threat with a grounder to the shortstop.
In the decisive bottom of the fifth frame, Argyle put on one of the run barrages it’s known for. After a lead-off walk and a single, Hayden Clearman doubled home two runs for a 5-0 Eagles lead. Austin King followed with an RBI-single to left and Alex Gonzales doubled to center as Melissa’s hopes faded. Segleski then fanned Merka for Out 1 but Brenden Dixon would deliver the dagger blow, a three-run homer over the left field fence for Argyle’s 9-0 advantage.
With the loss, Melissa (26-12) says good bye to six seniors: Segleski, Morrison, Andrew Cole, Tate Whittington, Bobby Houston and Adam Davis. After addressing the entire team at the conclusion of Friday’s game, Russell and the seniors moved out to shallow left field for a few moments together. Hugs were exchanged and a few tears flowed.
“It’s always tough to say goodbye to those guys,” Russell said. “You see the hurt and pain that they’re experiencing. I told them, ‘It all comes to an end for everybody. We’ve all had to feel it and it never gets easy.’ This group of seniors is special to me. I came here their freshman year. And I’ve seen them grow into fantastic young men and fantastic baseball players. Most importantly, men. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to raise men… Each and every one of them, I love them to death and I hate that it ended like this.”
“We’ve been through everything together,” Segleski said. “We have a group of seniors that now have been varsity starters for four years. There’s a special bond with all these guys. Nothing is ever going to be like this. We’ll never forget each other.”
“It’s just a great experience,” Game 1 starter Cole said of going up against Argyle in the Cards’ season finale. “The fact that we got to play against them taught us a lot about the game and how we should come out prepared every single day.”