Arlington’s bats had piled up big run totals against several district opponents before the Colts’ March 29 matchup against Bowie. But Vols pitcher Nick Johnson II kept Arlington from touching home plate.
Johnson, a junior, pitched seven scoreless innings as Bowie scraped out a 1-0 victory against the visiting Colts. By beating Arlington and, in the process, bouncing back from a narrow loss to Martin the previous Thursday, Bowie positioned itself near the top of the 4-6A standings.
“I just had to focus and make pitches and win,” Johnson said. “My teammates behind me backed me up.”
One of those pitches Johnson consistently made for strikes was his two-seam fastball. He rated his curveball and changeup as inconsistent. But even if he wasn’t perfect, Johnson was able to register outs in key situations.
“Our defense is really strong behind him,” Bowie coach Tyler Lucas said. “He can just go up there and throw strikes and get outs that way. He doesn’t have to press. He can just go up there and do his thing and let the defense make plays behind him.”
Johnson was able to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth. With one out, he fielded a ball and touched home plate for the force out and then rifled a throw to first to end the Arlington half of the inning.
“I was nervous, but I knew I could stay in control,” Johnson said.
Johnson also forced a double play in the seventh to finish off the shutout. “We just have to play defense,” center fielder Jacob Dominguez said. “It doesn’t matter how many runs we score on offense: 0, 8, 4. If we don’t play defense, they’re going to score, too.”
Dominguez made sure Bowie got the run it needed in the bottom of the fourth. He smacked a fastball up the middle for a base hit. He then stole second base. And shortly thereafter stole third.
“Next thing you know, the next batter up hits a ground ball to the right and I score,” Dominguez said. “It’s all about the team.”
Johnson said he gained confidence from his complete-game effort. Dominguez said the victory against Arlington was proof that the Vols’ 2-1 extra-inning loss to Martin on March 24 was no fluke. The Warriors are the defending district champions and reached the 6A state title game in 2015.
“When people think of Bowie, what do you think they think of? No playoffs,” Dominguez said. “But we’re out here to compete. When we go play Martin, we’re going to compete. When we go play Weatherford, we’re going to compete. … We’re the ones that had Martin on their toes.”
Sam Houston defeated El Paso Montwood in the area round of the playoffs last Friday. Goals were scored by Omar Herrera, Markdinho Tachiri and Angel Ramirez.
The Texans will face El Paso El Dorado in the regional quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Midland’s Grande Stadium.
Martin team downed El Paso El Dorado 1-0 in the area round last Friday to advance to the regional quarterfinals, where the Lady Warriors will face Wolfforth Frenship at a time and location that hadn’t been announced yet at the press deadline.
Haley Ober had the lone goal off a corner kick from Katherine Baker.
Lamar was eliminated in the area round 4-3 by El Paso Franklin.
Martin and Lamar are contending with Fort Worth Paschal and Weatherford for the four playoff spots out of District 4-6A. Meanwhile, Arlington, Bowie and Sam Houston are struggling this season, with the Lady Colts and Vols having just two wins each and the Lady Texans still seeking their first district victory.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74