COPPELL -- Hurst L.D. Bell rode pitcher Blake Henderson to a 3-1 victory over Arlington Martin in Game 1 of their best-of-three Class 5A Region I semifinal series at Coppell ISD Baseball Complex.
Henderson, a junior, struck out seven, walked three and gave up three hits in a 117-pitch, complete-game performance Thursday night against one of the top lineups in Texas.
"Martin poses a huge challenge because they are the No. 1 team in the state," Henderson said. "I feel like today is the best game that I've pitched in the playoffs so far. I kept everything low for the most part, limited my mistakes and capitalized on it."
Cullen Gassaway gave the Blue Raiders (22-11) a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Gavin Gregory, who tagged up from third. Gassaway drove in Gregory again in the third on a single up the middle after Gregory tripled.
Martin pulled to within 2-1 in the fourth after catcher Collin Lawrence drove in Mitchell Peck from first on an RBI double.
The Warriors would threaten again in the sixth, but Henderson shut the door. Bell center fielder Sydney Daley added a little insurance in the bottom half of the inning by tripling and then stealing home in an awkward play at the plate.
Game 2 is at 7:30 tonight in Coppell.
"It's always nice to get Game 1, but you got to win two to advance and we knew that going in," L.D. Bell coach Paul Gibson said. "This is just one; we got to get one more."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760