PARIS — Argyle’s baseball team found itself in the same exact position as it did three years ago.
After a Game 1 win in the Class 3A Region II finals against Paris North Lamar, the Eagles entered Friday’s game at North Lamar one win shy of reaching their first state tournament in school history.
But unlike the Eagles’ run in 2011, this year’s run will end in Austin.
Argyle defeated Paris North Lamar 4-1 in Game 2 on Friday night at North Lamar’s Pos Long Field to sweep the Panthers in the best-of-three series.
“They were so hungry to get there,” said Argyle head coach Ricky Griffin regarding his team’s ambitions to reach state. “They played great both games.”
Argyle picks up the series sweep after the Eagles (31-9-1) defeated the Panthers (21-17-1) 15-3 in Game 1 at McKinney Boyd.
Argyle’s opponent for Wednesday’s state semifinals has not been determined. Both 3A semifinal games will take place at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
For the first time since 2005, a team from Texarkana will not be representing Region II at the state tournament.
Like three years ago against Texarkana Pleasant Grove, Griffin sent a TCU signee to the mound. Argyle senior Drew Gooch stepped into the same spot Austin Aune was in three years ago.
The left-handed pitcher did not surrender an earned run for the second straight round. In six innings of work, Gooch struck out seven batters, scattered four hits and walked two batters.
For a brief moment, it appeared Gooch had finally conceded an earned run. North Lamar senior Daniel Gibbons, an Army signee, stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, representing the tying run.
On a 3-1 pitch count, Gooch fired and Argyle junior Ryley Balch leaned up and to his left to receive the pitch. Gibbons tossed his bat towards the dugout, took a few steps to first before he turned around after the pitch was called a strike.
The two-thirds of the bleachers wearing blue and yellow voiced their opinions with the call. Gibbons fanned on the ensuing pitch for an inning-ending strikeout, leaving the bases loaded.
“In my opinion, he was going to get the next guy,” Griffin said. “That’s how he was competing tonight. That walk wouldn’t have bothered him. All that would have been is a run, and he would have gotten the next guy. That’s how I felt.”
Paris North Lamar senior Brandon Dusenberry, a William Jewell signee, lasted five innings and picked up the loss. Junior Cutter McDonald led the Eagles at the plate. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the victory.
McDonald, who had six RBIs in Game 1, came up with a single in the bottom of the second inning to put Argyle up 1-0. The junior scored later in the inning. Argyle added a run in both the third and fourth innings, which was all the run support Gooch needed.
After throwing 96 pitches, Griffin brought in junior Rixey Boyd for the seventh. With two outs in the seventh, the Panthers plated a run off a single, a two-base error and a passed ball, but Boyd recovered to pick up the final out.
Once Boyd registered the final out, the team celebrated in the infield while Argyle fans also rejoiced.
It might have taken three trips to the regional finals, but the Eagles are finally headed to state.
“We wanted to get past that hump,” Gooch said. “When we got past Pleasant Grove [in the regional semifinals], we knew that we could do this. We came out yesterday and today and we just played how we’ve been playing all year.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter @Ben_Baby.
Argyle 4, Paris North Lamar 1
Argyle 021 100 0 — 4 7 1
North Lamar 000 000 1 — 1 5 2
WP — Drew Gooch (9-0). LP — Brandon Dusenberry. 3B — A: Ryley Balch. Records — Argyle (31-9-1), Paris North Lamar (21-17-1).