The Farmersville Farmers took a big gamble with their pitching rotation and it paid off as the District 12-2A Farmers swept the best-of-three bi-district series with the Bulldogs and will advance to the area round of the 2014 baseball playoffs.
Going with its number two starter in the series opener on May 1 at The Colony High School, Farmersville scored an unearned run in the first inning and made that stand in a 1-0 win.
Garrett Fulenchek gave up a leadoff double to Parker Mason, and Bowie Farris moved Mason to third with a perfectly placed bunt to the right side of the diamond. Mason scored on a passed ball and the Farmers had a 1-0 lead.
Jason Luke took the hill for Farmersville and he scattered four Howe hits, two by Bryce Mosier, and the Bulldogs were not able to light the scoreboard. Howe had just a couple of scoring opportunities, but both came up empty as Farmersville worked out of those jams.
In the second inning Caleb Ake reached on the only Farmers error of the game and he moved to second on a fly-out by Zach Blevins. Mosier’s first hit of the game advanced Ake to third and Griffin Underwood was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two out, Randle Nix hit a slow roller down the first base line and it appeared that Ake crossed the plate prior to the putout at first on Nix, but the umpires ruled differently, negating the potential tying run.
Fulenchek was giving arguably his best pitching performance of the season, blanking the Farmers after that first inning. He finished with a one-hit, 10 strikeout pitching line, walking just two in the contest.
Both sides were turning in excellent defense with only one error by each team in the game.
With two out in the top of the sixth, Mosier singled to right field and promptly swiped second base to get into scoring postion.
Underwood singled to right field and, with two outs, Mosier was off with the pitch. Unfortunately for Howe fans, Nick Davis made a perfect, one-bounce throw to the plate to nip Mosier in the Bulldogs’ final scoring opportunity.
“That was the play of the game for them, Bryce is one of our fastest guys and it took two outstanding plays to get him,” Howe coach Torrey Ognoskie said.
Luke retired the final four batters in the game and came up with the big win for the Farmers.
Garrett Fulenchek and Zach Blevins; Jason Luke and Cole Anderson. W—Luke, L—Fulenchek.
Records-Farmersville 23-7, Howe 19-6
Farmersville 12, Howe 1 (6)
With Luke getting the Game 1 win, Farmersville turned to its senior ace Parker Mason as it attempted to lock up the bi-district championship.
Mason held the Bulldogs to just three hits, struck out six and had a two-RBI double in the Farmers’ nine-run third inning as they posted a 12-1 win on May 2 to get the sweep.
Howe got off to a good start as Randle Nix reached on Farmersville’s only error of the contest. Nix advanced to second on a walk to Easton Ross and scored on a RBI single by Garrett Fulenchek, Quinton Harris singled but a 6-4-3 double-play ended the inning. That’s short-to-second-to-first if you’re keeping score at home.
Griffin Underwood singled with two outs in the second inning and Bryce Mosier was hit by a pitch in the fifth.
Those were the only other base runners for the Bulldogs as Mason was dealing from the bump.
The Farmers added three runs in the sixth inning, taking a 12-1 lead and making it a run-rule win.
Underwood pitched six innings, giving up 10 hits, seven of those coming in that third- inning outburst. Only four runs were earned and he fanned three.
Josh Griffin worked the sixth, with a no-run, no-hit line and he walked one.
Looking forward, the Bulldogs will graduate six seniors off of this District 11-2A championship team. One will definitely continue his baseball career at the next level as Randle Nix is set to play at Grayson County College after receiving a $2,000 scholarship from the Dixie Youth League.
Garrett Fulenchek’s future plans won’t take shape until after the major league baseball draft which will be conducted June 5-7. Fulenchek already has a scholarship offer from Dallas Baptist University but a high pick in that draft may send him on to a promising career in the professional ranks.
For Bryce Mosier ( I have word-processed his name a dozen times this season and it’s a major miracle that it has not come out as Bryce Harper) Tanner Ford, Brady Smith, Cole Stracener and Justin Hooper, thanks for your contributions to Howe baseball this season.
We want to add our personal thanks to Scotty and Dalton Harris for sending me the stats for games that we missed due to contractual obligations and to Rick Ake for keeping the score with the rocks.
Parker Mason and Bowie Farris; Griffin Underwood, Josh Griffin (6) and Zach Blevins. W—Mason, L—Underwood.
2B-Mason,Chase Hacker, Darren Pennington.
Records: Farmersville 24-7, Howe 19-7.