Liberty-Eylau graduate Marzavin Riles finished the District 1 American Legion Tournament 7-for-8 at the plate as the host Texarkana Bulldogs beat the Bowie County Eagles in the championship game in six innings, 12-2.
The Eagles also earned a spot in next week’s state tournament at Brenham, Texas, by rallying past the Prospects Thursday at George Dobson Field in an eight-inning affair, 5-4.
Riles, who had three hits in Wednesday’s win over the Eagles, doubled to ignite a four-run first inning for the Bulldogs (29-6-1). Chris Sutton, T.J. Krause, Kris Shumaker, and Cooper Perry drove in the early runs.
Southpaw Dakota Frachiseur was the winning pitcher, allowing three hits in four innings, while striking out seven. Hunter Allen threw the final two innings, holding the Eagles scoreless, and striking out three.
“Our focus was to get our pitchers some work, it was almost like throwing some bullpen,” said Bulldogs’ coach Kevin Sutton. “We hit the ball from the top to bottom tonight. Riles has been hitting like this all summer. Tonight was like we normally play baseball. We wanted to get Tucker Anderson some work on the mound, but the game was over a little early.”
The Bulldogs’ lead was 6-0 going to the fourth when Bowie County (29-9) made its only noise offensively. Tyler Strain singled to right for the Eagles’ first hit. He was forced at second by Matthew O’Neal, who moved up on a balk. Ethan Brooks then delivered a run-scoring single to right. Braden Solida singled to right, both runners advancing on an error in the outfield. Brooks scored on another Texarkana miscue in the infield.
Riles sparks 3-run fourth for Bulldogs
Texarkana batters retaliated immediately. Bryson Rhodes, who had four hits in the tournament, walked to start the Bulldogs’ fourth. Rhodes moved up on Chris Lyles’ sacrifice bunt, scoring on a long double by Riles. Sutton walked, and Keaton Russo made it 8-2 with a single. Krause then crushed a triple to right-center, making it 9-2.
Perry was hit by a pitch in the fifth, eventually scoring on an infield hit by Riles. Base hits by Hayden Stover and Shumaker led to the Bulldogs’ final two runs.
“We’ve just got to go down to Brenham and execute; do that and we’ve got a chance to win it all,” said the elder Sutton. “We’ll have our second baseman (Zane Cox) back next week, which will make a huge difference for us.”
In Thursday’s first game, the Prospects led 3-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. Parker Twisdale and Tanner Pounds had run-scoring singles to make it 3-2. The Eagles tied it in the bottom of the seventh when Tanner Pounds walked and scored on a double by Strain.
The eighth inning started with a baserunner at second for both teams. Jayden Parker double home a run for the Prospects. However, two infield errors allowed Bowie County to rally for the win, which spoiled a strong pitching performance by Cayden Bennett.