GEORGETOWN - For the fifth time this postseason, the McKinney Boyd baseball team was able to perform at a high level with their backs against the wall.
This time, it was the arm of junior starting pitcher Jack Hagan and the bats of senior Jack Brinkley and sophomore sensation Tyler Collins that helped propel Boyd to a 4-2 victory over The Woodlands on Thursday to tie their regional semifinal series at 1-1.
With the win, Boyd wins its fourth consecutive Game 2 this postseason, but more importantly, staves off elimination for the fifth time this year to set up a winner-take-all Game 3 at Corsicana High School at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“We have a resilient bunch of guys who stay in the moment pitch-by-pitch and fight for each other to the end,” said Brooke Court, Boyd head coach. “Saturday will be the same situation we’ve been in before and I expect us to handle it the way we have the last two weeks. These are two good teams who will battle it out Saturday and the team that executes the best will win.”
With Boyd’s season hanging in the balance with the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Brinkley smoked a two-out RBI single to bring in Tanner Castleberry to make it 3-2. Brinkley would score the next at-bat when Collins smashed a big double in the gap to cap off the scoring at 4-2 and give the Broncos the biggest win in program history so far.
If Boyd can take the series on Saturday, Brinkley’s hit and ability to come around to score an insurance run will be looked upon as a pivotal sequence in this series.
“I’ve been in a slump, but I was trying to do anything I could do to help the team out and it feels good to get a hit in that key situation,” Brinkley said. “We feel like we can beat anyone if we play our game like we did today. Saturday, I feel good that if we play like we play, things will work out for us.”
While Brinkley and Collins were combining to go 4-of-7 from the plate with two RBIs, junior right-handed starter Jack Hagan was dealing on the mound and getting out of multiple jams. Despite allowing at least one runner in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings, Hagan came away basically unharmed – only allowing one earned run on six hits in a game the Broncos never trailed.
On a night where the wind was blowing 20 mph toward left field, Hagan used a nasty slider to keep The Woodlands batters off balance all game – a pitch he used to end each of the three aforementioned innings.
“When I got into trouble, I relied on my defense and made quality pitches even though my arm wasn’t feeling well tonight, but I was able to use the pitches that were working and my defense backed me up,” Hagan said. “Coach James taught me how to stay on top of my slider, which allowed me to get some big outs and strike out some guys out when we needed to. Now we are ready to give it our all and hopefully win another Game 3.”
Aided by closer Dawson Goheen, who slammed the door shut on The Woodlands in the seventh inning, Hagan and the Broncos are now one win way from their first-ever regional final.