Sheldon Neuse did some heavy lifting on a cold and windy Thursday night, but it took the whole Keller Fossil Ridge roster to take Game 1 of their three-game bi-district playoff series with Arlington Bowie, 6-4, in eight innings.
Neuse finished 4 for 4 with a double and hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning before picking up the win with two innings of relief.
“I told my guys I was going to take one shot, and that’s all I had, I had one swing to do it,” Neuse said. “After that I got it up in the air, in the wind and it just flew.”
Fossil Ridge (25-6) senior infielder Jake Wymer drove in the winning run in the eighth on a double down the right field line.
The Panthers added another run on a throwing error to take a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth, in which Neuse struck out the side.
After three scoreless innings, the lead would switch hands five times over the final five innings.
Fossil Ridge struck first on a double by Hayden Hibler, who drove in Austin Ingraham from second to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Bowie (20-12) countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Panthers retook the lead on four consecutive singles in the top of the fifth.
But the Volunteers answered again in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double by senior center fielder Ricky Torres.
Bowie was two outs away from its first playoff win in school history before Neuse hit the homer in the seventh.
The Panthers appeared to take a 5-4 lead later in the inning, but a base runner failed to touch home plate and was called out.