Hurst L.D. Bell’s playoff magic finally ran out, and it took a little magic by Arlington Martin to put an end to the Blue Raiders’ season.
Drew Dowdy smashed a two-run single off the wall in right field at TCU’s Lupton Stadium in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Warriors a 4-3 victory Saturday and send them to the Class 5A Region I finals, where they’ll face Southlake Carroll.
Martin (35-7) played from behind most of the night. Trailing 3-2 and down to their last three outs, the Warriors lived by their motto: “Refuse to get out.”
Josh Watson led off the seventh inning with a base hit, and Anthony Lyons followed with a walk. Daniel Lingua’s infield hit loaded the bases for Dowdy, who delivered.
“I took two curveballs and I knew he wasn’t going to throw it [again] because he didn’t want to walk in the tying run,” Dowdy said. “I was sitting fastball and it came. The bat did the rest.”
“I was glad to see the kids come through,” Martin coach Curt Culbertson said. “They’ve been doing this all year long. I was a little bit worried about them. This is the first time I’ve been a little worried about them. They didn’t have a whole lot of life in their hands today.”
Bell (21-23) grabbed the early lead in the second inning. Blake Gibson started things with a base hit, but was erased on Caleb Rose’s fielder’s choice. Zack Plunkett and Chris Adams each singled to load the bases. Leo Ocampo and Sydney Daley each hit RBI singles to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead. Martin starter Turner Larkins worked back-to-back strikeouts to escape any further damage and left the bases loaded.
Martin answered with two unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Landon Sackett led off by reaching first on a throwing error. Brandon Swaim walked and both advanced on a wild pitch. Tyler Kendrick plated Sackett with a sacrifice fly to left field. Then catcher Matt Waller’s fly ball to center was dropped, allowing Swaim to score and tie the game at 2-2.
Bell regained the lead shortly thereafter on a Warriors error. In the top of the fifth, with runners on the corners, Martin appeared to have Austin Simmons caught in a run-down between first and second, but an attempt to catch Rose at third sailed high, allowing him to come home and make it 3-2.
Larkins went the distance for Martin, allowing nine hits and striking out six. Owen Rake, who came on in the fifth to relieve Bell starter Jordan Satterwhite, was saddled with the loss.
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