JUSTIN — Thursday night was far from Argyle’s best performance this season. According to the Eagles’ head coach, it was the complete opposite.
However, a couple of quick spurts of offense and four Bridgeport errors enabled the Eagles to earn a 3-0 victory in Game 1 of the Class 3A Region II bi-district series at Justin Northwest. Game 2 of the best-of-three set is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at Northwest.
Long after the stands cleared out, Argyle head coach Ricky Griffin talked to his team following the lackluster performance.
“No disrespect to [its] coach [Ted Leps] and Bridgeport — no disrespect to them at all — but with our starters on the field, that’s the worst game we’ve played this year,” Griffin said.
The District 10-3A champions entered the postseason ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association. Griffin said he thought his team came to the park thinking its lofty ranking meant the squad could just show up and play.
“This game’s not about that,” Griffin said. “This game is about coming and playing to your ability. And if we did that — no disrespect to them [Bridgeport] — if we did that, we wouldn’t have four hits.”
Argyle second baseman Ryley Balch went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Balch’s first hit gave Argyle a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Later, his double down the right-field line gave the Eagles (23-7-1) an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Tanner Boyzuick and Parker Mushinski had the only other hits for the Eagles.
It was an odd night for Argyle’s bats and Mushinski, Argyle’s starting pitcher. The senior who has signed with Texas Tech needed 88 pitches to get through four innings. Mushinski struck out nine batters but allowed four walks.
But Mushinski took advantage of a few baserunning mistakes by District 9-3A’s fourth-place team and pitched well enough to keep the Bulls (8-20) off the scoreboard. Hunter Markwardt came on in relief and picked up the save.
Argyle ended up with one more hit than Bridgeport on Thursday night, but both teams left runners on base throughout the contest.
Both coaches said they expect far more out of their respective offenses in Game 2, a game Bridgeport needs to win in order to extend the series to Game 3 on Saturday.
Leps said Bridgeport pitcher Jared Huff did enough to keep the Bulls in the contest, but the struggles at the plate were too much to overcome.
“We just struck out too much,” Leps said. “They did a good job pitching and keeping us off-balance. Their first guy [Mushinski] overpowered some of our young guys. Hopefully, we can bounce back tomorrow.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter @Ben_Baby.
Argyle 3, Bridgeport 0
WP — Parker Mushinski (5-0). LP — Jared Huff. S: Hunter Markwardt. 2B — A: Ryley Balch. Records — Argyle 23-7-1, Bridgeport 8-20.