By David Jenkins
The Farmers survived their first test in the Class 3A Region II playoffs.
They knocked off Mineola 7-2 (at Sunnyvale) and 1-0 (at Athens) in a bi-district best-of-three series.
“Anytime you can advance in the playoffs it’s awesome. We feel like we could have done some things better and we’ll need to be better this week, but we’re very happy to have survived,” head coach Jon Nordin said. “Mineola was what we thought they would be. They’re solid and played well most of the two games. Our pitchers were able to keep them held down and we played well in the field for the most part, especially Saturday.”
Farmersville (15-9 overall, as of May 11) moves on to the area round against New Boston (10-5) at Paris Junior College’s Hub Hollis Field.
“It only gets tougher and they (New Boston) will be a big challenge,” Nordin said. “They’re a senior team that’s been in this spot before and they’ll expect to win. They’re really a lot like us. I would expect three close games.”
Game one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, the second is 7 p.m. Friday and if needed a third contest would be 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Farmers will be the home team Thursday and Saturday, with New Boston being the home squad Friday.
New Boston made to the second round, after besting Mt. Vernon 7-3 and 8-1 in bi-district.
New Boston finished third in District 15-3A.
Below is a breakdown of how the sweep of Mineola played out.
At Sunnyvale, Farmersville’s Cole Anderson started off the bottom half of the third inning with a nine-pitch walk and Darrin Pennington singled past third base.
Anderson proceeded to steal home and his team up 1-0. He moved into scoring position on the Pennington hit.
Mineola tied the score in the top of the fourth on a misplayed ball.
Hunter Exum led off the bottom of the fifth by getting on base and Anderson moved him over two bases on a single up the middle.
Three batters later, Pennington earned an intentional walk.
With the bases loaded, Jason Luke drove in Exum on a single to center and Anderson came home for a 3-1 lead.
Mineola looked to counter in the top of the sixth, when the first two batters reached base.
Farmer pitcher Lyle Hibbits recorded the next three outs on a fly out, and a pair of strikeouts.
The Farmers put the game away in the bottom of the sixth with four runs.
Scoring were C.J. Hibbits (passed ball), Exum (Anderson single), Anderson and Chandler Norman (passed ball).
Mineola managed to add one more run in the bottom of the seventh on wild pitch.
Farmersville finished with eight hits, with Luke (pair of RBI’s) and Anderson (RBI) leading the way.
On the mound, (Lyle) Hibbits went the distance, struck out 14, gave up one earned run and surrendered four hits on 96 pitches thrown.
At Athens, Chase Hacker kept Mineola off balance over seven innings.
He gave up five hits, walked five and struck out four on 103 pitches.
Farmersville’s Pennington scored the games lone run in the top of the seventh.
The senior came home on a bases loaded walk from (Lyle) Hibbits.
Top hitters were (Lyle) Hibbits (RBI), Pennington (double) and (C.J.) Hibbits (double).