Christian Stephens pitched a complete game three-hit shutout and the Lufkin Panthers used a five-run fifth inning to roll to a 6-0 win over Mesquite Poteet in the opening game of a Class 5A Region II Semifinal series at Tyler’s Mike Carter Field on Friday night.
Stephens baffled the Poteet batters throughout the night as only three Poteet players reached base and he retired the side in order on four different occasions. He struck out eight batters and walked none in the complete game effort. That was more than enough for the Panthers’ offense, which broke open a tight game by scoring five runs in the fifth inning.
After carrying a slim 1-0 margin into the fifth inning, Luke Rowley singled and Blake Lazarine walked to put runners on first and second. Haylen Green followed with an RBI single that made it 2-0. Max Quick loaded the bases when he reached on an error and Dylan Murphy drew a bases loaded walk that scored Lazarine.
Ben Osgood followed with a two-run single that made the score 5-0. The rally was capped off by an Adrian Pena RBI single that made it 6-0. From there, Stephens pitched around Poteet singles in the sixth and seventh innings to get the shutout win.
The Panthers took an early lead in the fourth inning when Quick was walked and eventually came around to score on a passed ball. Tuck Tucker, a Texas Tech signee, took the loss on the mound for Poteet, allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits and five walks with six strikeouts.
Lufkin was led at the plate by Rowley, who had a pair of singles. Osgood had a hit and two RBI and Green, Murphy and Pena each had a hit and an RBI. Jonathan Dewberry and Lazarine contributed with a single apiece. Hunter Broyles, Tyler Deary and Hunter Foster had a single apiece. The series will resume on Saturday at 5, also at Tyler’s Mike Carter Field. A third game, if necessary, would follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second game.