HENRIETTA – The Archer City Wildcats swept a best of three series with the Lindsay Knights in two games last Thursday night to advance to the Region 2 Class 2A Semifinal. The Quarterfinal series win did not come with regular finishes in either case. The Game 1 win was a come from behind affair in extra innings to win 9-8. A duplicate of the prior week’s 9 inning win over Bland. Game 2 was a six run lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Lindsay scored four runs with the tying run at the plate before Keegan Beaver caught a fly ball in center field to end the game with a final of 11-9. The Wildcats seemed confident of victory but the Archer City fans were having some heart palpitations before the victories were officially in the books. First year Head Coach Corbin Brooks in post-game interview said, “The kids were calm and cool. They got down and battled back. That’s all you can ask of them.”
Layne Briggs was the hero in Game 1 with a game tying single in the bottom of the seventh and a single for the walk off win in the bottom of the ninth. The first run of the game was scored by Kade Dagley after reaching base on a dropped third strike. Conner Byrd’s grounder with one out was hit to the Knights second baseman allowing Dagley to score. A Jaxton Barrett single scored Browning who was aboard after being hit by a pitch. The score after two innings was 2-0 Archer City. The Knights took the lead on a Zane Hughes homerun in the top of the third to lead 5-2. Dylan Briggs answered in the bottom of the third with a 2 run home run. Byrd was on base with a walk so after three it was 5-4 Lindsay.
Byrd was on the mound for the Wildcats successfully shutting down the Knights until he reached his pitch count limit per UIL rules in the top of the seventh inning. The score at the time was 6-4. Morgan Mobley came on in relief only to have Lindsay’s Ethan Anderle hit a 2 run homerun to make it 8-4. A pop fly to Dagley retired the Knights in the top of the seventh. The Knights seemed in control of Game 1 with an 8-4 lead and 3 outs away from a win. No one informed the Wildcats the game was over.
Beaver reached on a dropped third strike to get Archer City started in the bottom of the seventh. D Briggs walked ahead of a Mobley single to score Beaver, on third with a steal and a passed ball. Now 8-5 with one out Justin Browning got a clutch hit single to move Josh Wilcox, a pinch runner, to third and Mobley to second. Hudson Williams took one for the team as his being hit by a pitch scored Wilcox. Now 8-6 with one out, L Briggs hit a line drive single to right field to plate Mobley and Browning. The regulation 7 innings ended with the score tied 8-8 as the Wildcat faithful breathed a sigh of relief. The Knights could get nothing going against Mobley in the eighth. In the top of the ninth with 2 outs Williams relieved Mobley to get a strikeout to retire the side.
The game ended with a Mobley double in the bottom of the ninth who scored the walk off game winner on a hard hit single to center field by L Briggs. Needless to say the Briggs were big in the Game 1 heart stopping victory.
Archer City in Game 2 with Justin Browning on the mound appeared to be well on the way to victory. Browning was relieved by Williams with a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Williams gave up a run, but got three ground outs handled by Dagley and Byrd to retire the side. The Wildcats got 4 runs in the top of the sixth to take an 11-5 lead. Williams gave up a double in the bottom of the sixth, however, three strikeouts squelched any threat.
The Wildcats seemed to lose focus with a 6 run lead in the bottom of the seventh. A Knight double, a couple of singles, and a couple of errors allowed Lindsay to cut the lead to 11-9. Freshman Ty Bates was called on to get the final two outs. Brooks walked to the mound to get the Cats focused to finish the game. A pop out to Dagley at second and a fly ball out to Beaver in center field ended the rally. Brooks explained, “We preach all time, it’s easy to lose focus in a game like this (Game 2). It’s easy to slack off, and that’s the thing that will get you beat. We have to play perfect baseball from here on out.”
In Game 2 the Wildcats scored 11 runs on 8 hits. K Dagley and Mobley had doubles and Jaxton Barrett homered. K Dagley and Byrd scored 3 time each. Beaver crossed home plate twice as did Barrett. Barrett’s two run homer in the top of the fifth gave the Cats a 4-3 lead. Archer City never trailed after that.
The Valley Mills Eagles will be the next challenge for the Wildcats. The first two games are scheduled to be played on Friday in Everman. Everman is south of Fort Worth east of 35W on Everman Parkway. Game 1 is scheduled for a 5pm first pitch and Game 2 is scheduled to start 30 minutes after Game 1. Game 3, if necessary, will be at noon Saturday.