May 15—ABILENE — Permian baseball team experienced its fair share of twists and turns in a doubleheader against Trophy Club Byron Nelson Friday at Abilene Christian University's Crutcher Scott Field.
The Panthers put together a stunning final-inning rally to pull out a 3-2 victory in Game 1 before falling 9-0 in Game 2 of a Class 6A area round series.
The split means that the two teams will play a decisive Game 3 at 11 a.m. Saturday at the same venue.
The Panthers (28-8 overall) struggled to find consistency at the plate against the Byron Nelson starting pitching tandem of Troy Romero and Chris Martin as both pitchers took no-hit bids into the seventh inning.
That said, head coach Tate Criswell credited his team for battling through a tough matchup.
"You just saw the same thing that I've seen from the team all year long and they stayed in the fight," Criswell said. "Baseball season's a marathon and we've got to be able to ignore our feelings sometimes.
"We may be tired but we can't act tired."
Permian found itself having to rally in Game 1 as starter Ashton Coats and Romero were locked in a pitcher's duel through four scoreless innings.
The Bobcats (19-12-3) broke through with a Michael Schultze sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth inning and added a second run with Quaid Tschetter's RBI single in the sixth.
Byron Nelson was poised to add more in the seventh inning but the Panthers stymied that chance when Aleck Villa's throw from the outfield to catcher Peyton Gregory was in time to tag Byron Nelson's Hudson White to end the seventh inning.
That provided an energy boost for the Panthers as Cade Tschauner and Jake Glasman led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles.
After a passed ball advanced both runners 90 feet, they scored on a fielder's choice by Gus McKay and a Teo Banks sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Permian completed the comeback thanks to Xavier Melendez, who drove in McKay.
"I had seen two fastballs as the first pitches in the previous at bats," Melendez said. "That's what I got on that pitch and I did the best I could with it."
The comeback presented a chance for Permian to complete the doubleheader sweep but it found itself unable to find that same magic.
The Bobcats took advantage of a few early defensive miscues from the Panthers to bring in five runs across in the first two innings.
Riley Nelson led Byron Nelson with four hits on the day and drove in two runs in the second game.
The early run support was enough for Martin, who struck out three in 6.1 innings of work, allowing just a one-out single by Villa in the seventh inning.
Luke Caussey recorded the final two outs for the Bobcats to earn the split.
"We've done a good job all year when we've had some disappointment and responded and today was no different," Byron Nelson head coach Michael Killian said. "Obviously, nobody likes to get walked off on but we did whatever we had to fight another day.
"We got an opportunity to face Permian again tomorrow and see what can happen."
Criswell had a simple message for his team heading into Saturday's deciding game.
"We need every single body on the team doing their job on every pitch tomorrow."
PERMIAN 3-0, TROPHY CLUB BYRON NELSON 2-9
CLASS 6A AREA PLAYOFFS
Friday, Crutcher Scott Field, Abilene Christian University
Byron Nelson 000 011 0 — 2 6 1
Permian......... 000 000 3 — 3 3 0
Troy Romero and Quaid Tschetter. Ashton Coats, Cooper Golden (6) and Peyton Gregory. W — Golden. L — Romero. 2B — Byron Nelson: Trevor Packan. Permian: Xavier Melendez. 3B — Byron Nelson: Riley Nelson.
Permian......... 000 000 0 — 0 1 4
Byron Nelson 320 010 x — 7 3 0
Gus McKay, Cooper Golden (2), Cooper Sheehan (5) and Peyton Gregory. Chris Martin, Luke Caussey (7) and Quaid Tschetter. W — Martin. L — McKay. 2B — Byron Nelson: Ryan Pruitt. HR — Byron Nelson: Trevor Packan.
Records — Permian 28-8 overall; Trophy Club Byron Nelson 19-12-3.