The Borger Bulldogs entered Friday’s game against the Pampa Harvesters with one mission: Win the district title. After a strong third inning offensively and a solid outing by starting pitcher Hunter Hertel, mission accomplished as Borger won 7-2 Friday in Borger.
This was the fourth time the Bulldogs defeated the Harvesters. Head coach Steve Ribera said that’s tough for a team to do.
“These kids had a mission for sure to win a district championship,” Ribera said. “They came out and got it done.”
The Harvesters (13-14, 5-4) took the lead early. Junior Cole Engle led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice by senior catcher Brent Green. Junior Jared Lusk hit a fly ball to deep right field and Engle scored on the play.
The Bulldogs (16-11-1, 7-2) responded immediately. Junior Max Lusk smashed the second pitch of the inning over the right field wall. With one out Hertel followed with a single. Grant Boren courtesy ran and stole second but was stranded as senior Garrett Ericson struck out the next two batters.
Pampa regained the lead in the top of the third. With one out, Engle singled to left and advanced to third on a single by Green. Lusk hit another sacrifice fly to center and Engle slid safely into home. Hertel struck out Killgo to end the inning and stranded Devin Coleman at third.
In the bottom of the inning, the Bulldogs took control of the game. 10 batters came to the plate and scored four runs on five hits. Senior Garrett Irwin singled with one out and stole second. Hertel struck out and that’s when the Borger’s rally began. Brandon Garcia walked and senior Zach McDonald was hit by a pitch. Clay Ellis hit a two-RBI double down the right field line and gave Borger a 3-2 lead. Acton Smith and Chase Tracy followed with a RBI singles.
Borger continued where they left off in the bottom of the fourth. Irwin led off with a single and Hertel followed with a double. Garcia scored Irwin grounding out to short stop. Hertel scored on an error by the shortstop.
After scoring two runs on four hits in the first three innings, Pampa was held to just three hits the rest of the game and only had one base runner go past first after the third inning. Hertel got Engle to fly out for the final out and the celebration began.
Hertel pitched a complete game and gave up two runs on seven hits, walked one, hit one and struck out 11. Ribera said his senior came up big.
“He was rested,” Ribera said. “He hadn’t seen Pampa and Pampa hadn’t seen him. That had a lot to do with it. He was on and got in a groove the fifth, sixth and seventh inning.”
With the victory, the Bulldogs earned a bye and will compete in the area round May 13 and 14. Perryton (12-16, 6-3) finished second with a 9-6 victory over Dalhart (6-14, 0-9). Pampa finished third and along with Perryton will play in the bidistrict round May 6 and 7