PHOTO / JEFF BERGER

The whole crew greets Ethan Reyes (14) at the plate after his third inning home run in the series-opening 11-2 win over defending state champion Fayetteville. Until last week, D’Hanis had not advanced past Fayetteville in the baseball playoffs over the last four decades. 

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State awaits, as Cowboys crush Fayetteville

 

By Jeff Berger

Anvil Herald Publisher

 

     Marion -- Any kind of mystical spell that the Fayetteville Lions held over the D’Hanis Cowboys was spirited away last week.

    The Cowboys, who had never won a playoff round from the Lions – going back for at least 40 years – finally got it done Thursday and Friday at Marion High School. And they did it in convincing fashion, winning the Region IV championship in a sweep.

      The 11-2 win on Thursday, followed by the 7-4 win on Friday, earned the Cowboys their seventh trip to the UIL State Tournament, and their first since winning it all in 2019.

     Play in the Conference 1A tournament began Wednesday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, when the Cowboys (26-3) took on Region II champion Abbott (21-3-2) in a noon contest. The first semifinal of the day, pitting Region I winner Nazareth (20-1) and Region III champ Kennard (24-14) was played at 9 a.m. The two games were played after the Anvil Herald deadline for the week.

     The winners of those two games are set to play for the 1A state championship today (Thursday) at 9 a.m.

    The Cowboys took charge over the Lions last Thursday, breaking on top with a two-run homer from Ethan Reyes in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead. Then, D’Hanis blew things wide open with a six-run fourth, highlighted by a three-run double from Luke Langfeld.

     The Cowboys got on the board in their first at-bat, when Langfeld singled to shallow center. Layton Herrmann put down a sacrifice bunt, and when no one covered third base, Langfeld went around to the other corner. A two-out single from Ryan Hendry brought him home.

Fayetteville tied it in the second, with a pair of free passes and a base hit.

     Langfeld led off the third with a single, and Reyes followed with a one-out shot over the high fence in left.

    In the fourth, the Cowboys sent 11 batters to the plate. JJ Garcia and Eusebio Tapia were aboard with singles, on either side of Raine Redden, who had walked. Langfeld hit a fly ball into the gap, scoring all three runners for a 6-1 lead. Herrmann singled to put runners at the corners, and Reyes followed with a sacrifice fly to right. Two more walks loaded the bases once more, and Daelyn Gonzales connected for a two-run single as D’Hanis pushed further ahead 9-1.

     The Lions had three hits in the fourth, but could only put up one run, as Gonzales struck out the final batter of the inning with the bases loaded.

     D’Hanis added two more for good measure in the top ofthe seventh. Redden walked and Tapia singled, setting up Herrmann with a two-RBI hit.

     Gonzales worked into the sixth inning on the mound for D’Hanis before his pitch count maxed out, but in the process, he allowed just five hits and two runs to the defending state champion Lions. Tapia came on in relief during the sixth inning, and despite loading the bases in the seventh, got a pair of fly balls to end the game.

     As the home team on Friday, the Cowboys got rollowing in the bottom of the first. Langfeld opened with a double, and consecutive singles by Reyes and Hendry led to a 2-0 lead. Will Schawe then brought in the heavy aluminum, with a two-run shot to extend the lead to 4-0.

D’Hanis added another in the second inning on a pair of two-out doubles by Langfeld and Herrmann.

     Things remained 5-0 until the fifth when the Lions got on the board with an RBI triple.

     D’Hanis added two more in the sixth. Four straight singles by Gonzales, Garcia, Redden and Tapia made it 7-1, adding some key insurance to the lead.

     In the seventh, Fayetteville strung together a series of hits, capped with a three-run double. 

     Hendry worked the mound into the seventh, scattering seven hits, but allowing just one run to the Lions.

     A single-day ticket to the state tournament is $15, and is good for all games played at the venue that day. Tickets may be purchased online at uiltexas.org or at the Dell Diamond box office. 

     All sales are credit card only, and a clear bag policy is in effect for the stadium.

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PHOTO / JEFF BERGER

Daelyn Gonzales picked up the Game 1 win over Fayetteville.