Keller used a strong first inning to get the jump on Flower Mound in the first game of the Region I quarterfinals at Kennedale on Thursday night.
Keller’s five-run first was enough en route to a 5-1 win in Game 1.
The two teams were to be back at it on Friday afternoon at Argyle to help determine the winner of the best-of-three series. If needed, the two teams were to settle things on Saturday at McKinney Boyd. Results after Thursday night were unavailable due to the early holiday deadline, but can be found at dfwvarsity.com.
The Indians chased Flower Mound ace Sean Wymer from the hill in the first inning.
Keller had scored four runs before the Jaguars recorded an out, and the bases were loaded.
Shea Langeliers and Kyle Rich each collected two RBI, while Phil Young collected the other.
Wymer was pulled to likely save him for Game 2.
Keller would score one more run in the inning after the Jaguars had recorded a run of their own in the top of the inning.
When Luke Wakamatsu walked to load the bases, Young was hit by a pitch to force in the other run.
That score would stand up the rest of the way. Caleb Killian came in to replace Wymer and kept the Keller bats silent. But the damage was done.
Lane Rice took the win for Keller in Game 1.
“Lane settled down and threw strikes and made them earn it,” said Keller head coach Rob Stramp. “He threw well enough to control things. He made quality pitches and let his defense work, which was solid behind him.”
Stramp was excited with the win but has been coaching too long to not know about complacency or the value of each game in a series.
“When you’ve been doing this a while, you have to take each game one at a time,” he said. “They’re a good team and they’ll bring it out each time. You have to just go out and play.”
Stramp also said the Indians are playing well together and with good energy.
Gabe Martinez was expected to get the start for Keller in Game 2.
Keller has been known to do whatever it takes to pull a game out at the end, but the failure to score with a man left on third in the sixth inning was only a point of frustration for the Indians in Game 1.
With a series win over Flower Mound, the Indians would take on the winner of Wolfforth Frenship vs. Midland.
In last week’s edition, a photo of Keller pitcher Gabe Martinez was incorrectly identified as being of fellow pitcher Jacob Feret.