After a night’s sleep in their own beds and a three-hour bus trip, the Tigers arrived early in the afternoon for game two of the series in Flower Mound.
Dylan Blomquist got the start on the bump for the Tigers. Justin Kleinsorge drew the start for the Marauders.
Payton Vybiral reached on a leadoff walk to start the game. He was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice and the Tigers could not take advantage.
Blomquist started off well, as he sandwiched strikeouts of Blake Covin and Mitchell Dickson around a Ryan Hunt flyout to Reese Perry in right field.
After Kleinsorge retired the Tigers in order in the second, Blomquist struck Demetri Petrides to start the bottom of the second. Zach Jordan doubled to deep centerfield. Will Harrison singled in Jordan to put Marcus on top 1-0. Blomquist’s lethal pickoff move had Harrison leaning off of first base. He threw to Drew Cook at first base, who threw down to Hunter Teplansky at second base for the 1-3-6 caught stealing for the second out.
Blomquist then issued consecutive walks to Blake Mayfield, Vincent Mazzola, Brett Hedges, Covin and Hunt to force in two runs to give Marcus a 3-0 lead with two outs. Dickson grounded out to Aaron Krueger at third base to end the rally.
A double play got Marcus out of trouble in the third inning. The Marauders manufactured a run in their half of the third, as Petrides singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, moved up to third on Jordan’s ground out and scored on Harrison’s sacrifice fly.
Belton had a golden opportunity to chew into Marcus’ lead in the fourth inning. Fischer led off the inning with a single. With one out, consecutive walks to Butler, Cook and Preston Rozner pushed Tannor Fischer home to make the score 4-1. Sherman lifted Kleinsorge for the left-handed Clayton Lopez. He struck out Parker and Teplansky to stop the Belton threat.
Blomquist retired the Marcus side in the bottom of the fourth.
The Tigers had another shot to do damage in the top of the fifth inning. Vybiral singled and Aaron Krueger walked to start the inning. Lopez got Fischer to fly out to right field, which moved Vybiral to third base. But back-to-back strikeouts ended the Belton opportunity.
Marcus posted a run in the bottom of the fifth with two outs. Petrides hit the double to centerfield and advanced on a fielding error. He scored on a wild pitch and the Marauders put runners at the corners. Perry induced Mayfield to ground out to Krueger to retire the side.
Belton made the most of their opportunity in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Rozner singled and Goldston drew a walk from a patient 10-pitch at-bat. With two outs, Vybiral singled and Krueger doubled to make the score 5-4. The hits reinvigorated the Belton dugout and fans alike. Sherman went to the bullpen and sent Tyler Morgan to the mound. He got Fischer to ground out to Hedges to end the Tigers rally at three runs.
Marcus fought back to reclaim a three-run lead. Mark Krueger sent King in to pitch the sixth in relief. With one out Hedges walked and Cooley came on to courtesy run. He stole second base and Covin moved him to third with a single. Hunt walked to load the bases. On a 1-0 pitch, Dickson hit an infield single to score Cooley to make the score 6-4. Petrides hit a grounder to Teplansky, who flipped the ball to Shawn Butler at second base and relayed a hard throw to first base to Cook. The throw appeared to beat Petrides by a step, but the first base umpire ruled safe, which scored Covin and gave Marcus a 7-4 lead. The play was vehemently challenged by Mark Krueger and the first base umpire stayed with his call. Jordan grounded out to Butler to end the inning.
The Tigers were retired in order by Morgan in the seventh inning, as the Marauders stormed the field into a dogpile on the final out.
Petrides scored twice and had two hits for Marcus. They collected six hits and left seven runners on base.
Kleinsorge picked up the win. He pitched 3 1/3 innings, gave up one run on three hits, walked four and struck out three. Lopez went two innings, allowed three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four. Morgan got the save, pitched 1 1/3 inning and struck out one.
Vybiral had three hits and scored a run. The Tigers collected seven hits and stranded nine on base.
Blomquist took the loss for the Tigers. He pitched five innings, surrendered five runs on five hits, walked six and struck out two. King pitched an inning, gave up two runs on two hits and walked two.
Marcus (25-10-1) will play Waco Midway in the regional quarterfinal round.
The Tigers season ended, having gone 14-16-3 on the year.