After throwing five consecutive balls to begin the game, Boyd junior pitcher Jack Hagan found his groove and began wheeling and dealing the rest of the night.
When Hagan recorded the final out of the game 90 pitches later, the crafty right-hander had thrown a two-hit, seven-strikeout gem to cap off his best pitching performance of the season and give Boyd a 1-0 victory over state-ranked Cypress Ranch to even up their regional final series, 1-1.
With the win, Hagan kept the Broncos’ season alive while adding to the growing legend as the most clutch pitcher in Boyd program history – now 4-0 in elimination games this postseason.
“After being a little off the first couple of pitches of the game, I readjusted and got on top of my slider and when I do that it’s deadly,” Hagan said. “It feels amazing the shut out one of the best teams in the state, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Now we got to come back on Saturday and play our game so that we can get another win and move on.”
Although he had his fastball and change-up going all night, Hagan’s slider was his money pitch on the night. Dealt on both sides of the plate, Hagan’s slider struck out five Mustangs looking.
With the quick-throwing right-hander doing his thing on the mound by shutting out Cy Ranch’s potent attack, Boyd has now outscored its opponents, 34-14, in seven straight elimination games.
“Hagan was really, really good and the best he has been as far being locked in and he had all of his pitches going tonight,” said Brooke Court, Boyd head coach. “He’s a competitor on the mound and gave us a chance to win and that’s what we ask of our pitchers to do is give us a chance to win. Saturday, we must keep executing while playing Broncos baseball.”
After getting no-hit in Game 1 of the series and facing a potential first-round pick in next week’s MLB amateur draft, Boyd knew it would be tough sledding at the plate. Fortunately for Boyd, Hagan wasn’t the only Jack to come up huge Thursday night as senior Jack Brinkley went 2-of-2 with an RBI.
In the second inning, after senior Simon Reid and junior Tanner Castleberry got back-to-back hits to give Boyd its first two hits of the series, Brinkley smoked a single up the middle to score Reid for the game’s only run. If Brinkley’s name sounds familiar, it should – this is the second consecutive week the clutch-hitting senior has delivered in a pivotal Game 2 after getting the winning hit and RBI in Boyd’s Game 2 win last week over The Woodlands in the regional semifinals.
“It feels great to come through for my team. We had a great game plan and I was able to execute it,” Brinkley said. “We are confident that as long as we execute our game plan and pitch good, we can beat anyone. Because we’ve been for real the entire year and we know if are able to get the job done that will get us the respect we deserve.”