HURST — There must be something to L.D. Bell playoff baseball mojo.
Despite dropping both regular-season matchups to Colleyville Heritage, the Blue Raiders took Game 1 of their best-of-three Class 5A Region I quarterfinals series 8-3 Thursday night at home over their District 6-5A rival. Game 2 is 4 p.m. Friday at Heritage.
Bell (20-16) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first after a two-out pop-up was dropped by Heritage. Bell would take advantage with doubles by Blake Gibson, Zack Plunkett and Chris Adams and capitalized on another Panthers error in the monster inning.
“It’s something we hadn’t been doing, either getting a big two-out hit with the bases loaded or getting something started with two outs and no one on,” L.D. Bell coach Paul Gibson said. “We found a way to do it tonight against a good ballclub and a good pitcher. I though [Heritage pitcher Jake] Thompson threw well tonight.”
Heritage (26-16) immediately cut into Bell’s lead with three runs in the top of the second, capped by a two-RBI single by Preston Palmeiro.
Thompson settled in and retired 12 straight batters before giving up a two-out single in the fifth inning to Mason Peterson, who hit two singles and scored a pair of runs. Trevor Ward then reached with a single, and Gibson followed with a walk to load the bases for Caleb Rose, who doubled to drive in all three and extend the Blue Raiders’ lead to 8-3.
Bell pitcher Blake Henderson, with the help of some highlight-reel plays by his defense, struck out four, walked five and allowed three runs on five hits in a complete-game performance in which he pitched out of some tough jams. Henderson had his best stuff late, retiring nine of the final 10 Heritage batters he faced.
“It’s a lot easier pitching with a lead then it is with no run support at all, so it was really nice,” Henderson said. “After that second inning where I gave up three runs, it really frustrated me, so I really tried my best to just bear down and compete.”
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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