MOUNT PLEASANT — It was a matter of which offense was going to be the first to squeeze out a run off the opposing pitcher Friday night.
Texarkana Pleasant Grove senior Trey Jeans and Argyle senior Parker Mushinski quieted their oppenents’ bats for five innings in Game 2 of a best-of-three Class 3A Region II semifinal playoff series.
Finally, in the sixth inning, Pleasant Grove made some noise without making much contact. The Hawks used three straight walks to get one run across the plate, and that’s all the run support Jeans needed.
Despite outhitting the Hawks, Argyle was unable to close out Pleasant Grove and lost 1-0 at Northeast Texas Community College. It’s the first time this season Argyle has been shut out.
“We knew that kid had the ability to do that to us,” Argyle coach Ricky Griffin said. “He’s done it to every single playoff opponent so far. That’s the best Parker’s thrown since he’s been at Argyle. You can’t throw any better; he just ran out of gas at the end.”
Argyle won the first game of the series 5-3 on Thursday at McKinney Boyd. The winner of today’s Game 3 (2 p.m. at NTCC) will play Paris North Lamar in the Region II finals next week.
Mushinski, a Texas Tech signee, struck out 10 batters, allowed two hits and still picked up the loss.
The sixth inning started with an infield single before Mushinski responded with a strikeout. Mushinski walked two batters to load the bases with one out, drawing Griffin to the mound for a visit.
After Griffin departed, the senior left-hander walked Jeans, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, on four pitches to force in the game’s only run. Junior Rixey Boyd relieved Mushinski and picked up the final two outs to leave the bases loaded and give the Eagles a shot in the seventh.
Argyle had runners on first and second in the top of the seventh, but Jeans stranded the runners to pick up the complete-game victory.
Griffin said Mushinski wanted to find a way out of the jam. The coach also said he enjoyed the matchup of left-handed pitcher against the left-handed batter. Mushinski finished with 102 pitches, with 12 of the last 14 being balls.
Griffin praised Mushinski’s performance and said he did everything he could to get the Eagles the series sweep. But Argyle couldn’t get the key hits it needed to plate a run.
Argyle outhit Pleasant Grove 5-2, with two of those singles by sophomore shortstop Tanner Boyzuick. The Eagles never had a runner reach third base, and didn’t reach second until the seventh inning.
After the Eagles (28-9-1) pounded out five runs and nine hits Thursday, the offense couldn’t come up with anything against the Hawks (25-11).
“It’s just hard,” Argyle senior designated hitter Mat Ralph said. “We hit so well [Thursday], and [Friday] he [Mushinski] threw the best game he’s thrown all year and we couldn’t give him a run to show our support.”
Argyle hit into inning-ending double plays in the third and fifth, but Griffin chalked that up to the ball being hit hard right at people.
Jeans struck out four batters, walked four and threw 111 pitches.
“He’s got a lot of guts and a lot of heart,” Pleasant Grove coach Craig Jones said. “I was really confident in him.”
The teams found themselves in a similar position in the 2011 3A Division II regional finals. After Argyle won Game 1 at McKinney Boyd, Pleasant Grove came back and won Games 2 and 3 at NTCC the following day.
Pleasant Grove has reached the 3A state tournament six years in a row, and the Hawks defeated the Eagles in the 3A Region II finals in 2010 and 2011 — the only times the teams have met in the postseason.
This time around, Griffin will have his best pitcher at his disposal. Griffin used senior lefty Drew Gooch to pick up a 10-pitch, three-out save in Game 1. The TCU signee will get the ball again today, this time hoping to send Argyle to the regional finals for the third time in school history and avoid another season-ending loss to Pleasant Grove.
“We’re not planning on losing,” Griffin said. “We felt like we had a different plan coming into this series, so us losing [two games] in this series wouldn’t happen to us.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter @Ben_Baby.
Texarkana Pleasant Grove 1, Argyle 0
WP — Trey Jeans (7-3). LP — Parker Mushinski (6-2). Records — Texarkana Pleasant Grove (25-11), Argyle (28-9-1).