COLLEYVILLE — Staring down elimination, Colleyville Heritage answered every challenge Friday from District 6-5A rival Hurst L.D. Bell to survive Game 2, 7-6 in 10 innings before a standing-room-only crowd.
Bell won Game 1, 8-3 on Thursday. The third and deciding game of their Class 5A Region I quarterfinal series is at noon Saturday at Quick Trip Park in Grand Prairie.
“It’s a great series between two great programs. I have so much respect for [Bell] coach [Paul] Gibson and what they do,” Heritage coach Alan McDougal said. “It’s going to be an absolute battle, just like it was today, tomorrow over at Quick Trip.”
The Blue Raiders (20-17) nearly ended the series on several occasions Friday as Bell led in three different innings during the game and as late as the 10th.
With the Panthers down 6-4 in the bottom of the 10th, Christian Gonzales led off with a solo homer over the left-field wall. After an error, a walk and a bad throwing decision by Bell on a sacrifice bunt try, the bases were loaded with no one out. Heritage (27-16) scored the tying run on a passed ball moments before Blake Knotts scored the winning run standing up on a wild pitch.
“I think both teams thought they had it quite a few times, and for us to bounce back down two and the way we did it I thought was good,” McDougal said. “Christian didn’t really give us a chance to fall into a hole early in the inning by jumping us right back into it, and I think it kind of kept the pulse going and we just kind of fed off of that.”
Bell leadoff hitter Sydney Daley opened the game by crushing the second pitch over the left-field wall to stake the Raiders to a 1-0 lead. Daley also added a double in the fifth and made a spectacular leaping grab against the wall in center field to extend the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Panthers right fielder Cody Thomas, also Heritage’s star quarterback, did everything but shatter the outfield lights Friday afternoon, as the Oklahoma football and baseball signee hammered a pair of two-out, two-run homers.
His first shot was to center field on a full count in the third inning to give Heritage its first lead of the series. His second home run was to right field, tying the score at 4-4 in the fifth.
“I got put in a good spot and they happened to throw one I could hit, and that’s just what happened,” Thomas said.
Heritage’s Jason Adams relieved starter Lane Norwood in the sixth and threw four scoreless innings before a two-out, two RBI single by Eric Williams gave the Blue Raiders a 6-4 lead heading to the bottom of the 10th.
“Our bullpen has been huge during the playoffs,” Thomas said. ‘We’ve had times where we couldn’t hit worth a flip and they’ve come in and shut it down for us. That’s a great example of it — Jason did a great job and the same with Lane.”
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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