Grand Saline’s Smith blanks Bulldogs on two hitter

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The Quitman Bulldogs ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Grand Saline pitcher Bryce Smith as they dropped their district opener 8-0 against the Indians on March 12. Smith powered the Indians to the win, striking out 14 Bulldogs over seven innings.

Quitman started aggressively. A walk put Ben Burroughs on first in the opening inning. With two outs, Bulldog Trey Berry crushed a ball to right center. The Indian centerfielder took the ball on two hops deep in the outfield, but the ball was hit too hard for Burroughs to advance beyond second. With Wyatt McClanahan at the plate, Burroughs was gunned down on an attempt to steal third.

Quitman hurler Ty Holland set the Indians down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Holland threw 3 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs on four hits in his starting appearance.

Demonstrating great control and velocity, Smith struck out the side in the second. He repeated that feat in the fourth. The Bulldogs managed just one more base runner on the afternoon. Holland put a ball through the right side of the infield in the third inning but was left on base.

The Indians systematically picked up two runs in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth and two in the sixth. Smith signaled the Grand Saline offensive awakening when he banged a double off the left-center field fence in the bottom of the second. After a nice play by Bulldog third baseman Cody Hawley to check the runner and get the out at first, the Bulldog defense faltered. Two consecutive fielding errors let the Indians load the bases. A single by Grand Saline’s Matt Mercer drove in the first two runs.

In the third, Grand Saline capitalized on a single, a balk, a hit by pitch, and another single to put two more runs on the board. The opening hit of the inning was a high hopper to short that allowed Montana Martin to beat the throw.

With two on and now facing Quitman pitcher Ben Burroughs in the bottom of the fourth, Grand Saline’s Judsen Truett drove a ball through the gap in right center to pick up two RBI.

Neither team managed a baserunner in the fifth. The Indians added two runs in the sixth behind three singles and a Bulldog throwing error.

Smith threw 97 pitches and produced a two-hit shutout.

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