MADISONVILLE — The Robinson baseball team got exactly what it wanted to start its third-round Class 4A playoff series versus Lufkin Hudson.
The Rockets came out throwing strikes and pounding the ball at the plate and they rode that momentum to a 7-1 victory over the Hornets on Thursday afternoon at the Madisonville High School baseball diamond
Robinson rightfielder Easton Slovacek drilled a two-run home run over the wall in left, driving in Robert Villa and giving the Rockets a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Jace Walker followed with a two-run hit and the Rockets took a 6-0 lead after two frames.
That was more than enough for Robinson starting pitcher Chris Morrow, who held Hudson to a single run in six innings. He struck out six and worked around three walks and three hits. Patrick Nichols came on in relief in the seventh to work a scoreless inning.
“To set the tone, Christopher threw strikes,” Robinson coach Bryan Kent said. “He threw an incredible game. When he throws strikes, he is very tough and he gives us a great chance to win.”
Robinson (28-4) took a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series, which resumes with Game 2 at 5 p.m. on Friday back at Madisonville High School. If necessary, Game 3 will follow Game 2.
Slovacek’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second not only created momentum for Robinson, it was a great bounce-back play for the rightfielder who was injured going into the second round of the playoffs last week.
“Easton didn’t get to hit last series,” Kent said. “He had injured his shoulder. He comes back and, his first swing of the series, he hits a two-run shot. That’s pretty incredible. We’re happy for him because he’s battled through some adversity.”
Carthage 3, Lorena 1: Carthage pitcher Seth Smith held Lorena to one hit through the first six innings, then sidestepped a Leopards rally in the top of the seventh to help the Bulldogs claim Game 1 of the best-of-three third-round playoff series.
Smith struck out eight and didn’t allow an earned run. But Lorena finally got to him when centerfielder A.J. Bell reached on an infield single and pinch hitter Bo Smedshammer followed with a double down the third-base line with two outs in the top of the seventh. Lorena designated hitter Braden Robinson hit a chopper on the infield that Carthage shortstop Brandon McNeely couldn’t handle and Bell scored.
But Smith induced a fly out to right field from Leopard catcher Jett Forrest to end the game.
Lorena pitcher Ben Smedshammer and Smith engaged in a scoreless pitchers’ duel through four innings until Carthage plated a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Bulldogs rightfielder Mason Bobo hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Baylor Collie from third to break the tie. Carthage then added two runs in the bottom of the sixth on two walks and a Leopard error.
Lorena (24-6) will try to even the series when it resumes at 5 p.m. Friday at Emory Rains High School. If the Leopards win Game 2, the deciding game will follow.
Splendora 14, Robinson 4: The Splendora offense kept the pressure on Robinson throughout as it cruised to a opening-game win in the best-of-three series on Thursday afternoon at the Madisonville High School softball diamond.
Ladycats pitcher Caleigh Millican looked at a 2-2 pitch that was called ball three, then hit the next pitch over Robinson rightfielder Harley Koerth for a triple that drove in two runs for Splendora.
The Lady cats added another run in the top of the first, then tacked on two more in the second, a single run in the third and rallied for four in the fourth.
Splendora, ranked No. 1 in the final regular season 4A poll, held Robinson scoreless through the first three innings, which allowed the Ladycats to establish a 10-0 lead and stiff arm Robinson from there.
Splendora took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, which resumes with Game 2 at 5 p.m. Friday back at Madisonville High School. If Robinson wins the second game, Game 3 will be played at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Madisonville.
Huffman Hargrave 10, Lorena 0: The Huffman Hargrave Lady Falcons jumped ahead of Lorena early and never let up on Thursday evening at the Madisonville High School softball park.
Hargrave scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and added two in the second for a commanding 5-0 lead.
With the win, the Lady Falcons swept the best-of-three 4A Region III semifinal series. Hargrave defeated Lorena, 4-2, on Wednesday night.
The Leopards finish the season with a 24-9 mark.
The Lady Falcons advance to play the winner of the Splendora vs. Robinson series.