Jackrabbits win area round against Ballinger

The Bowie baseball team had 10 of its members earn all-district honors.

The Bowie Jackrabbits’ season continues with an area series sweep against Ballinger on Friday and Saturday.
The Jackrabbits won both games 8-5, but it took late inning scoring efforts to pull ahead in each and advance to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
Bowie came into the game probably the slight favorites. It was the odd series with the third place seeded Jackrabbits playing the fourth seeded Bearcats.
Ballinger being in a district with two state powers in Wall and Jim Ned meant the Bearcats were not the usual fourth seed. They showed it with them annihilating a first seed team Reagan County with scores 16-5 and 14-5 in the bi-district round.
Game one did not start off well for Bowie. The Bearcats reeled off a triple, a double, a single and drew a walk in the first inning. The Jackrabbits also committed two fielding errors that led to Ballinger scoring four runs before they had even gotten up to bat while also setting a bad tone to start the series.
The Bearcats added to their lead in the third inning as a leadoff single eventually was able to score thanks to a passed ball to make it 5-0. The Jackrabbits had only gotten three people on base and had not threatened to score yet heading into the fourth inning.
Ballinger almost got a two out rally going in the fourth inning with a single and double putting two runners in scoring position. Pitcher Cade Thompson, who had settled down after that rough first inning, was able to force a groundout at shortstop to get out of the jam.
Bowie’s bats finally got started a little bit in the same inning. Devin Melton was able to reach second base with one out thanks to an error on a throw. Colton Richey followed with a single to put runners at the corners before Kawlyer Swearingin drove in Melton with a line drive into the outfield to cut the lead to 5-1.
It looked like the Jackrabbits were poised to score more as Logan Hutson drew a walk to load the bases with only one out. Unfortunately, the next two batters flew out and struck out to end the inning.
Bowie did not let that get the team down as it carried the momentum into a big fifth inning. Thompson and the defense had a clean 1-2-3 inning to get back to bats where the Jackrabbits were still hot from the inning before.
Kynan DeMoss got on first with one out thanks to an error at first base. Jake Fallis drew a walk but a strikeout for out two. After executing a double steal to get both runners into scoring position, Richey hit a groundball and another error at first base allowed both runners to score and Richey to reach second base. Swearingin then followed with a single that drove in the loan base runner.
Hutson’s fly ball to right field produced another error that allowed Swearingin to score all the way from first base to tie the game at 5-5.
Hutson would advance to second on the same error. Tucker Jones came in to run for him and advanced to third base on a passed ball, but a groundout followed for out three.
The only issue Bowie’s defense had was a dropped third strike with two outs that put one runner on, but it did not lead to anything.
Despite the Bearcats changing pitchers late last inning, the Jackrabbit bats kept on producing. Thompson led off and drew a walk. He advanced to third base on a wild pitch and a steal before Carson Sanders drove him in with a single to take the lead.
Sanders was then able to advance to third base thanks to two wild pitches when DeMoss traded places with him on a triple into the gap that scored one more run. DeMoss would then score during the next at-bat thanks to a balk to put Bowie up 8-5 heading into the final inning.
With one out, Ballinger batters drew a walk and hit a single to put the pressure back on with its back against the wall. Sanders came in to pitch relief and forced an infield pop up and struck out the next batter to end the game.
Bowie won 8-5.
Bowie did not want to get too up on itself after winning game one, having come back from losing game one in its previous series to win and also losing game two in a playoff series from last year after winning game one easily.
Starting in the early afternoon on Saturday it was a sunny, humid day. The Jackrabbit bats had no luck in the first inning. Swearingin got the start on the mound for Bowie and despite a one out single eventually reaching third base, the Jackrabbits held firm heading into the next inning.
The second inning Bowie got a runner on base with a drawn walk from Melton, but a double play ended things.
Ballinger drew a two out walk and then got lucky as a throw to first base to try and pick off the batter was too high and allowed the runner to reach third base. The Bearcats got another break as a groundball hit to the shortstop produced an error that allowed the runner to score and put Ballinger up 1-0 heading into the third inning.
Bowie got its bats going then. Swearingin led off with a triple into the gap. Hutson followed with a drawn walk. After the next two batters were retired, Sanders hit a single that drove in both runners to take the lead.
Next batter DeMoss extended that lead with a two-run home run down the left field line to make the score 4-1.
Ballinger got one run back in the same inning as a leadoff batter got on with a single and was later driven in on another single with two outs to make the score 4-2.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Jackrabbits got on the board again. Brody Armstrong got on base with a one out single. After stealing second base, Sanders was hit by a pitch before DeMoss drove in one run with a single to make it 5-2.
The Bearcats came back in the same inning. With two runners on because of base hits and with two outs, a Ballinger hitter hit a three-run home run down to left field to tie the game up at 5-5. Following another single, Bowie was hit with a scarier blow.
Catcher Hutson went down after a pitch hit his windpipe. According to his mom Kit Cage-Hutson, this resulted in him passing out and having trouble breathing thanks to the heat he endured as well. He was helped off the field and received medical care for the rest of the game, but is expected to be fine.
Melton had to step in and catch and the team had to rebound after about a 10 minute break in the action where the Bearcats were gaining momentum.
It looked like it might keep going as the next batter drew a walk, but Swearingin got it together and struck out the next batter to end the fifth inning.
Bowie bats responded in the sixth inning. Melton led off and got on with a single. After stealing second base, an error on the throw allowed him to reach third base. Following a pop out, Swearingin came through with a single to drive him in.
Following another out, Armstrong was able to hit a shallow ball to center field for a single. He advanced to second base on the throw home that prevented the runner from advancing. That did not matter as next batter Thompson hit a double that drove in both base runners to up the Jackrabbits lead to 8-5.
The Bearcats showed some life as a batter hit a two-out double to get on base, but Swearingin struck out the next batter with three pitches to end the inning.
Bowie batters had no luck in the seventh inning to add to its lead. Ballinger was able to get one runner on base with a one out single. With Swearingin’s pitch count too high after another strike out for out two, Sanders came in again to finish the game.
He forced a groundout at second base for the final out. Bowie won 8-5.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.