WOODROW For the first three innings, the Permian baseball team was locked in a close battle with two-time defending state champion Southlake Carroll.
In the fourth inning, the Dragons broke the game open and the Panthers were unable to climb all the way back, falling 5-1 in Game 1 of a Class 6A regional quarterfinal series Friday at Lubbock-Cooper’s Pirate Field.
“I just thought our guys showed a lot of fight and I do actually feel good about where we’re at,” Permian head coach Tate Criswell said. “They without a doubt threw their best pitcher and I like the guys that we still have available.”
Criswell was referring to junior left-hander Griffin Herring as the LSU commit earned the victory, allowing four hits and striking out seven.
Permian (29-9 overall) countered with senior southpaw Ashton Coats as both pitchers showed their ability to work out of early jams.
The Panthers’ best opportunity came in the third inning as they were able to get runners on the corners but unable to bring them across.
Carroll (25-15) also got a runner to third base in that same inning but the Panthers got out of the jam as Coats reached first base just ahead of Carroll’s Owen Proksch to end the inning.
The Dragons batted around in the bottom of the fourth inning to break the game open. The rally was sparked by doubles from Clark Springs, Ethan Mendoza and Max Reyes.
Reyes’ double drove in two runs and he led the Dragons with three hits, while Springs drove in the other run with a sacrifice bunt in the fifth.
“I thought that we just started have better approaches,” Southlake Carroll head coach Larry Vucan said. “We laid off a lot of balls that were down below the knees and I thought we did a good job of making them come up a little bit and we were able to get the barrel on it.”
The Panthers tried to rally as the leadoff batter reached safely in each of the final three innings with a pair of singles and a walk.
Those rallies were stymied by Carroll and the only run that Permian manufactured came in the sixth inning when Teo Banks scored after Herring was called for a balk.
“We just wanted to try and stick with the same approach,” Criswell said. “We want to try and get our pitch before we hit two strikes. There was more emphasis on that today.”
The Panthers will now have to win two games Saturday in order to advance. Game 2 of the series is scheduled for noon. The winner of the series will face Flower Mound Marcus, who completed a sweep of Plano Friday.
Permian will look to pull off a pair of victories, something it did in last week’s area round series against Trophy Club Byron Nelson.
“You know, after getting beat 5 to 1 in game one, somebody probably ought to feel upset,” Criswell said. “But I feel really good going into tomorrow.”
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Southlake Carroll 5, Permian 1
Class 6A Regional Quarterfinals, Game 1
Friday, Pirate Field, Woodrow
Permian…… 000. 001 0 — 1 4 2
Carroll…….. 000. 410 x — 5 8 0
Ashton Coats, McCray Gann (4), Cooper Sheehan (6) and Peyton Gregory. Griffin Herring and Clark Springs. W — Herring. L — Coats. 2B — Southlake Carroll: Clark Springs, Ethan Mendoza, Max Reyes, Tanner Sumer.
Records — Permian 29-9 overall; Southlake Carroll 25-15.