In Thursday’s Game 1 of their Class 2A regional semifinal matchup, the Muenster Hornets took a step up in competition.
The days of run-ruling their way to victory were on hold as they faced a Bosqueville team that nearly dealt the Hornets a key loss last season in the same round of the playoffs.
Muenster didn’t have its usual offensive output that they had in their past five games in which the Hornets scored double-digit runs, including 24 total runs in two games against Archer City in the regional quarterfinal round, but they still came away with a 4-1 victory in Kennedale.
“Bosqueville’s lefty was pretty good last night,” Muenster head coach Josh Wheeler said of Bosqueville. “We got to him early, but didn’t score much after that. We left a couple runs out there. We had four straight hits. Clay [Stevens] hit a line drive to left and with their lefty on the mound, we went first move on a steal and he slid past the bag to get tagged out. I think scoring early relaxed us a little bit.”
Bosqueville’s starting pitcher held the Hornets’ offense in check for the most part, but one positive side effect is that he pitched 102 pitches and won’t be eligible to pitch the rest of the series due to a pitch count limit.
“I think we battled a lot,” Wheeler said. “I think we had a lot of good at-bats even though we didn’t score a bunch. I feel like we have the upper hand now and I think we can put it away. Anytime you get Game 1 is a big deal. Sometimes when you lose Game 1, there can be a lot of pressure. We feel good, especially not throwing our No. 1 in Parker McGrew.”
His brother, senior Stetson McGrew, was on the mound for the Hornets on Thursday.
Wheeler said he didn’t pitch his best game, walking six batters, but that he battled when it mattered.
“We might have got the leadoff hitter out one game and usually those score, but he battled and got through it,” Wheeler said. “He pitched six and a third inning and the top of their lineup was coming up. We brought in Brandon Sicking to close it out. He gave up a single, but then forced a foul pop up and struck out the last guy to get the final two outs.”
Parker McGrew’s RBI line drive gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead and Garrett Bindel’s RBI single to right field scored Trey McTaggart to make it 3-0.
Stevens hit a two-out triple in the fourth inning and Kagen Dangelmayr’s infield hit scored Stevens to push the lead to 4-0.
Wheeler said consistently scoring with two outs has been key to the Hornets’ run this season.
“Last night, we scored two runs with two outs, which is big,” Wheeler said. “That really hurts the pitcher, making him work more. I think we’ve hit well with two outs all year. That’s important and I think they buy into it.”
Game 2 and Game 3 if necessary will be on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. with Game 3 to follow 30 minutes after.
Wheeler said he has confidence in the team’s ability to advance to the regional final, especially considering the team’s experience gained while winning the state championship last season.
“They’re really good, but I think our kids turned it up a notch,” Wheeler said. “They were ready to play. They knew Bosqueville presented a challenge, but I think our kids know what they have to do to get a victory and know how to come up in big games.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip