MONTGOMERY – China Spring moved a step closer to the state tournament stage.

The Cougars broke open a tie game with a three-run sixth inning to snatch a 5-2 win over Bridge City in the opener of their Region III-4A semifinal series on Thursday night at Montgomery’s Bear Stadium.

The game was tied at 2 entering the sixth, when China Spring (23-9-1) made its push. Brett Cain got the inning started with a single, then promptly scored the go-ahead run when Levi Bass smoked a deep double to left. The Cougars added two more runs in the inning for a little breathing room – as Bass scored on an error by the Bridge City catcher and Braydon Mathis later scored on a well-executed Traveler Surley bunt.

Carson Bell turned in a terrific outing on the hill for the Cougars. The junior scattered five hits in a complete-game effort, striking out four and walking four. Bridge City’s only runs scored on a China Spring error.

Cain went 3-for-4 to pace China Spring at the dish. Bass and Payton Spell each had a hit and an RBI.

The Cougars are now just a win away from wrapping up the series and advancing to face district rival Robinson in the regional final next week. Bridge City and China Spring will resume the series at 4 p.m. Saturday back in Montgomery. If Bridge City wins that game, a decisive third game would follow.

ABBOTT 9, SAVOY 0

MESQUITE – Brent Mynar did it again.

The Abbott ace delivered another clutch effort in a season’s worth of them, throwing a two-hit shutout and striking out eight to push the Panthers to a victory over Savoy in the opener of their Region II-1A final series.

Abbott scored in each of the first four innings in building a big lead. Hunter Pope got things started with an RBI single in a three-run first inning, and the Panthers (28-2) pounded out 14 hits on their way to the easy victory.

Matthew Urbanovsky went 3-for-4 to top Abbott, while Pope, Weston Cantrell and Jace Kolar collected two hits apiece.

Abbott can wrap up the series and advance to the state tournament in the second game of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday back at Mesquite’s Tillery Field.

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