FRISCO — Argyle inflicted the most damage against Melissa by keeping its bats hovering around their shoulders instead of around the plate.
The Eagles didn’t use big hits to come away with the 9-8 victory over Melissa in Game 1 of the Class 3A Region II quarterfinal best-of-three series at Deeter Smotherman Field on Thursday night. Instead, the Eagles took advantage of five walks to score four runs in the sixth inning for the victory.
Melissa’s pitching staff walked 10, spoiling a strong offensive showing and allowing Argyle to pick up a pivotal series-opening win.
Game 2 is at 7:30 p.m tonight. If the Eagles (29-3) can’t win, Game 3 will be on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Frisco.
Argyle head coach Ricky Griffin said he didn’t preach patience between innings. He said he instead merely implored his team to raise its level of play.
"Really, I just came over here and chewed their butt out," Griffin said. "I just told them, ‘You gotta compete. They’re taking it to you. You gotta compete.’ And they did."
After the pep talk, the Eagles combined to score eight runs over the fifth and sixth innings to pick up the win over Melissa (25-8), newcomers to Class 3A this season and the District 12-3A champions.
The Cardinals chased Argyle starting pitcher Drew Gooch out of the game because in four innings Gooch managed to quickly pick up two outs but struggled to get the third. On two occasions, the Eagles paid dearly.
In the third inning, Melissa capitalized on an error and Cardinals third baseman Chris Smith blasted a two-run, two-out home run over the tall, blue left field wall. Melissa shortstop Cade Cruce did the same thing in the fourth inning.
Argyle’s bats excelled by doing just enough and capitalizing on the 10 walks.
Melissa head coach Joe Williams said the walks weren’t because of a small strike zone but instead caused by his team’s inability to find the plate.
In the pivotal sixth inning, Corey Regan came on in relief of Camden Duzenack. Regan walked three batters and allowed a single, prompting Williams to relieve Regan with Grant Meeks.
"When you have 10 walks against a team like Argyle, you will lose almost every time," Williams said.
Tyler Gibson went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and a run scored to lead the Eagles at the plate. Brandon Boyzuick pitched the final two innings for Argyle and picked up the win, despite having not thrown since before district play started.