ABILENE - Stephenville was already sweet. Now the Yellow Jackets are elite.
Daniel Bullard needed only 84 pitches to fire a complete game from the mound, and Ryker Thompson drove in three runs as Stephenville dominated Andrews 7-1 Saturday afternoon, completing a two-game sweep of the Mustangs in the 3A Region I semifinals at Walt Driggers Field.
The Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the top of the second to lead for good. Witt Westbrook was hit by a pitch, Chase Varnado singled and Noah Hobbs bunted into a two-base throwing error that brought Westbrook home. Varnado scored on a groundout by Thompson and Hobbs crossed the plate on a passed ball. One of the runs was unearned.
Westbrook was hit by a pitch again in the sixth inning. He stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a two-out infield single by Thompson to make it 4-1.
The Jackets poured it on in the top of the seventh. Ben Martin led off with a single to right and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by BJ Kinsel. Brock Morrison was intentionally walked, a plan that backfired when Westbrook smashed a double down the line in left to bring in Martin.
Chase Varnado was intentionally walked to load the bases before an RBI single to right by Hobbs scored Westbrook for a 6-1 lead. Another run-scoring single by Thompson - this one to left field - plated Varnado to finish the scoring.
It was the second straight 84-pitch complete game for Bullard. He used the same amount of pitches to beat Alvarado in a must-win game two one week prior. He benefited from a pair of double plays, one in the first and the other an around-the-horn affair that ended the game in the seventh.
The Jackets face Lubbock Cooper for the Region I championship after Cooper swept Kennedale 3-2 and 6-2 in eight innings Friday and Saturday. Series details were not finalized at the time of this report.
For quotes and much more, see the Sunday edition of the Empire-Tribune. Check back at yourstephenvilletx.com for details of the upcoming regional final against Lubbock Cooper.