HUNTSVILLE — The Carthage Bulldogs did just what they needed to in Thursday night’s Game 1 of their regional semifinal series with No. 4 Sweeny.
They came out of the box swinging and put a quick three runs on the board.
They followed that up by sitting Sweeny down in order in its half of the first.
The only problem is games are seven innings long and Sweeny eventually got back into it, putting up a five-run inning of its own on the way to a 9-5 win at Don Sanders Stadium.
The location changes for what the Dawgs will be hoping are Games 2 and 3. Game 2 is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lamar’s Vincent-Best Stadium in Beaumont. Game 3 will follow 30 minutes later, if necessary.
The Bulldogs’ start was a little mixture of speed and power as Mackenson Bobo reached on a chopper over the pitcher’s head.
He would steal second and then score easily on Dylan Leach’s triple. Gunner Capps’ sharp single plated Leach and Seth Smith almost made it 4-0 when he took a pitch to the wall in left. It would take a walk and a Tucker Smith single to drive in the courtesy runner and put Carthage up 3-0.
Seth Smith set Sweeny down in order in the bottom of the first, although one of them was on a deep ball to left — some possible foreshadowing of what was to come.
“We pressed the envelope early and really took it to them,” Carthage coach John Goodwin said. “The only problem is when they responded in the second inning we weren’t able to limit it. If we could have held them to just one or two it might have made all the difference in the world.
“But we weren’t able to.”
Quinton Martin led off the bottom of the second with a homer to left to quickly cut into the lead.
Sweeny would send nine to the plate in the inning and pick up four more hits including a triple and a double to open up the 5-3 lead.
Three doubles in the third would lead to two more runs and a 7-3 edge.
Carthage scratched a run across in the fifth when Mason Bobo singled, went to second on a throwing error and ended up scoring on an error.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Sweeny answered with two of their own as Carthage got s little sloppy with ball.
Down to their final outs, the Bulldogs were able to pick up one more run as Mackenson Bobo singled, stole second and scored on a single by Leach. But a double play up the middle ended the contest.
“I thought we ran a little more on them than I expected to,” Goodwin said. “We didn’t want to be stationary against them and I think we can use it more on Saturday.
“It seems like we’ve responded every time we got beat this season and I expect us to do the same thing Saturday. All you can do is tip your caps to Sweeny. They responded well after we went up 3-0. They’re tough to pitch to. It really hurt that we didn’t minimize that one inning.”