Panthers pivot to playoffs after losses

MHS draws 13-5A champion Forney in bi-district following Joshua sweep

Mirror report
Midlothian's Michael Gray slides into third base during Friday night's regular-season finale against Joshua at Ronnie Clanton Field. The Panthers will take on Forney in the Class 5A Region II playoffs this weekend.

The Midlothian Panthers ended regular-season play with a pair of losses to the Joshua Owls, but now the Panthers can turn their attention to the playoffs.

The Panthers suffered a 6-1 loss to the Owls on the road last Tuesday and closed out the District 14-5A schedule with a 3-2 loss at Ronnie Clanton Field on Friday night.

Nevertheless, MHS (12-10-2, 6-6) advances to take on Forney in the bi-district round. Game 1 is set for 7:30 p.m. in Forney, with Games 2 and 3 at Ronnie Clanton Field starting at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Jackrabbits (21-7-1) finished as 13-5A champions.

Friday’s contest was a close battle all the way as MHS tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but Joshua regained the lead in the top of the seventh and held on.

After Joshua opened with two runs in the top of the first, the Panthers clawed a run back in the fourth as Dakota Meadows was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Blaine Bradshaw’s single to left. In the sixth, Patrick Hudson singled and took second on an outfield error, moved to third on a groundout and scored on an error to tie the game.

The Owls, though, scratched out a run in the top of the seventh off MHS reliever Fletcher Newman, and the Panthers were retired in order in the home half.

Starter Austin Kyle allowed no earned runs on three hits in six innings of work on the mound.

In last Tuesday’s game at Joshua, the Panthers were held to only three hits — two of them by Braiden Petty batting in the nine-hole. Petty drove in Gavin Grisham with a single in the top of the fifth with the team’s only RBI of the night to make it a 3-1 game.

Joshua scored once in the second and twice in the third, then pulled out of reach with a three-run sixth inning.

The MHS-Forney winner will advance to the area round to face either Nacogdoches or Mount Pleasant.