Highland Park - 3; Mesquite Poteet - 4

Losing Pitcher: Evan Blakeley, Highland Park High School, Dallas, Texas

"Poteet gets historic win in extra innings to earn first trip to state tournament," Devin Hasson/Staff Writer, Star Community News http://www.mesquitenews.com, Saturday, June 2, 2007 3:07 AM CDT. http://www.mesquitenews.com/articles/2007/06/02/breaking_news/0000001breakingnews.txt

COLLEYVILLE - Since the start of the season, Poteet had proven it had what it takes to be a good team.

On Friday, the Pirates showed those elusive traits—guts, determination and an unwavering confidence—to make people consider they could be a great one.

Brett Doe’s RBI single to drive home Jonathan Figueroa in the bottom of the eighth inning was the finale of a series of timely plays for Poteet, as it completed a history-making performance with a 4-3 victory over district rival Highland Park (34-10) in front of an overflow crowd at Colleyville Heritage High School to claim the Class 4A Region II championship.

The Pirates (33-4) advance to the Class 4A state tournament in Round Rock for the first time in school history, with its semifinal game scheduled to be played on Friday against an opponent to be determined.

“These guys just wanted it, they wanted to be the ones to do it,” Poteet coach Bobby Doe said.

It was Doe’s son, Brett, who came through with the biggest swing of the game. Tied at 3-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Bryce Cummings and J.T. Files led off with back-to-back singles. With one out, pinch-runners Figueroa and Seth Sartain moved into scoring position after a wild pitch to set the stage for Doe. Facing Highland Park’s Evan Blakeley, who had gone the distance and struck out nine while often times baffling Poteet hitters, Doe lined a single to right past a drawn-in infield to bring home Figueroa and spark an emotional celebration.

“I wanted to go up there and put it through the infield … he (Blakeley) had good stuff, but all you’ve got to do is put it in play,” said Doe, who was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. “I love everybody around me. I’m so glad I can go (to state) with these guys.”

The late offensive heroics would never have been possible without the efforts of starter Teddy Nowell, who improved to 16-0 on the season. Despite admittedly not having his best stuff, Nowell went eight innings, and although he gave up 10 hits, he kept Poteet in the game in what Doe called a “gutsy” performance.

“My velocity was off. I couldn’t locate anything, but my defense helped me,” Nowell said. “I told him (Coach Doe) I was fine, and then the adrenaline got going and I knew we would do it.”

Although it was a one-game playoff, it served as a finale of a best-of-three series of sorts because the two 10-4A rivals split during the regular season.

Nowell was strong early, allowing just one hit through the first three innings against a Scot offense that had scored in double figures in its last two games.

Poteet blew a golden chance in the bottom of the first inning, when it loaded the bases with one out, but was unable to score. The Pirates did not make the same mistake in the third, thanks to a little help from the Scots.

Nowell and Files each drew walks to send Nick Carrio to the plate with two outs. Carrio hit a pop-up in foul territory, but Highland Park first baseman Nathan Venz dropped the ball, giving Carrio new life.

That would be the second chance Carrio was hoping for, as he blooped a double into right field to bring home two runs. Doe then followed with a RBI single to left to make it 3-0.

Highland Park would respond in the top of the fourth, as Nick Flabiano singled and Dutch Crews followed with a home run to left field to close to within 3-2. The Scots threatened again by putting two more runners on base, but in what would become a recurring trend, Nowell was able to limit the damage.

In the following inning, Crews again came through for the Scots, as his run-scoring single tied the game at 3-3, but Nowell would strand the go-ahead run at third base to escape the fifth, and he repeated the feat in the sixth to preserve the tie.

Blakeley, meanwhile, was in firm control against the Poteet offense through the middle innings. After the Pirates’ three-run rally in the third, he allowed just one hit during the next four innings, as the Scots seemingly were in control.

But Nowell, who stranded six base runners during a four-inning span, got a second wind, getting a key double play on a lineout to second baseman Kevin Lantrip in the seventh and striking out a pair of batters in retiring the side in the eighth.

That set the stage for the Poteet offense, which reawakened to stage its game-winning rally to keep the season alive.

“It has always been a great program, Coach (Ted) Nowell did a great job,” said Doe of the former Poteet coach, which led the team from 1990-2005. “This is for everybody who played for Poteet and everybody involved with Poteet High School. They came close before, they just needed that little break and tonight we got it.”