NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Lake Dallas coach John Tompkins knew his team might need some time to break the ice in its Region I-4A bi-district playoff series against Birdville on Thursday.
The Falcons have a number of young players who are getting their first taste of the playoffs in their opening-round series, which just so happens to be against a playoff-tested team.
By the time the Falcons found their footing, the Hawks were well on their way to a 12-2 win at Birdville High.
Lake Dallas didn’t manage a hit against Birdville ace Jordan Martinson until catcher Christian Boulware lined a two-run double into right-center field in the fifth inning.
That hit drove home Lake Dallas’ only two runs of the game and extended the Falcons’ opening game of the postseason for another inning after it appeared as if the game would end via the run rule after five innings.
Birdville (20-7-1) finished off the Falcons just one inning later, when Robert Salazar crushed a home run to left field to highlight a two-run burst that ended the game.
The series will continue with Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. today at Lake Dallas.
“We didn’t do anything well today,” Tompkins said. “We didn’t pitch well or hit and had a couple of bad bounces on what could have been double-play balls. Hopefully we got it out of our system.”
The good news for Lake Dallas (15-16) is that it has already faced Martinson, who has already thrown two no-hitters this season and nearly posted another against the Falcons. Martinson struck out 12, including the side in both the second and fourth innings.
Lake Dallas put two runners on in the first on walks but failed to score. Martinson settled in after working his way out of that jam and retired 11 in a row before Lake Dallas put two runners on in the fifth. Boulware capitalized with a ringing line drive into the right-center gap.
“That hit helped everyone relax,” Tompkins said.
Will Lipsey added a single in the sixth for the Falcons’ other hit.
Lake Dallas had shaken off its playoff jitters by that point, but it just couldn’t dig its way out of the huge hole. Birdville scored 10 runs in the first three innings and was on its way to a 14-hit night while facing five Lake Dallas pitchers.
The Falcons will turn to their ace, Tristan Tom, today when the Falcons hope to turn the tide at home.
A young Falcons team learned just how big an advantage that can be in the playoffs after facing Martinson in the Hawks’ backyard.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.
Birdville 12, Lake Dallas 2 (6)
WP — Martinson. LP — Williamson. 2B — LD: Boulware, B: Will Hayward, Ty Engelhardt. 3B — B: Robert Salazar. HR — B: Salazar.