Bobcats split, play to advance today

Published 12:20 am Saturday, April 17, 2010

Opp split with Jackson in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs Friday night, falling 3-2 in the first game and bouncing back to win the second game, 8-1.

The Bobcats suffered their first home game loss of the season in the first game, but head baseball coach Michael Cassady said he was “proud” of his team for coming back in the end.

“We never quit in either game,” he said. “We played solid defense. I was just proud of the guys and how they bounced back from their first home loss of all year.

“I was sort of worried about their mindset going into the second game, but the kids responded well,” he said. “We were the visitors and we sort of jumped on them early and got three runs in the first. We rallied off of that and the dug out did a great job of showing a lot of enthusiasm.”

Since Opp and Jackson split, both will play the third game in the best-out-of-three series today at 2 p.m. at Merchants Field.

Jackson 3, Opp 2

Losing pitcher Gavin Free gave up three runs in the first inning, had nine strikeouts and allowed six hits.

“Gavin pitched a great game,” Cassady said. “I made some costly mistakes myself and sent a couple of guys home. I told the kids the first game was my fault and said, ‘I’ll do my best, if you do your best’ before the second game.”

Dilan Ziglar and Britt Wilson had one hit each; Free had four hits; and Josh Thompson had two hits.

Opp 8, Jackson 1

The Bobcats (23-5) jumped out on Jackson, scoring three runs in the first inning to help them gain the needed momentum to get the win.

Opp added one run in the third inning, three in the fourth inning and one in the seventh.

“Jackson has a great program,” Cassady said. “Coach (Jason) Jones does a great job with his kids. They’ve been to the playoffs and they know how to win.

“It’s a tribute to play them and we’re going to have to play a great game three (today),” he said.

Wilson earned the win, pitching seven innings. He struck out six and allowed six hits.

Trey Short had two hits; Ziglar, Free, Thompson, Alex Banks, Lance Robbins and Jantzen Flowers had one hit each; and Wilson had two hits.

As far as what his team needs to do well today in the third game, Cassady said the team needs to hit the ball move on base.

“We’ve got to keep hitting the ball and move runners,” he said. “We’ve got to keep the intensity up and play solid defnse again.

“It’s going to come down to who makes the most mental mistakes,” he said. “It’s sad to say it, but it’s two great basball teams playing and one of them has to go to the house. One will win and one will lose and somebody will have to go home. We’re going to go at it (today) and hopefully we’ll be on top.”