HUTTO — There was only one option.
Making the program’s first appearance in the second round of the playoffs since 2006, Lampasas faltered in its opening game against Bellville on Friday afternoon.
The Brahmas used an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning to help capture an 11-0, six-inning victory, forcing the Badgers into a must-win situation with Game 2 looming 30 minutes later.
With its season on the line, Lampasas junior Ethan Rascoe understood there was only one option.
“After the first game,” the shortstop said, “we were down, but we knew that in the second game, we had to come together. We had to pull through and work as a team.
“We had to come out with a win — one way or another.”
And they did.
The Badgers responded with a 3-1 victory, extending their season to a series-deciding Game 3 today at 3 p.m. at Cameron Yoe High School.
Like Rascoe, Lampasas head coach Shane Doege admitted his players had to change their mindset following the loss.
“The first game was a little rough to deal with,” he said, “and it took some mental toughness to overcome that and get ready to battle in the next game.
“But the kids did it, and I was really proud of them for that.”
The Badgers and Brahmas opened the doubleheader with three scoreless innings before Bellville posted the contest’s first run in the fourth inning.
Then, everything changed.
The Brahmas took complete control in the fifth inning, using a grand slam to highlight a seven-hit showing and create an insurmountable 9-0 advantage. Bellville (13-13-3) scored two more runs in the sixth inning to initiate the run rule.
“A lot happened really quickly,” Doege said, “and the game just got away from us, but that happens in baseball sometimes.
“I just wanted to make sure to remind the guys that there is a reason we are playing a series, and that is to find out which team is the best at the end. We couldn’t let one bad inning hold us down or knock us off our path.”
After allowing 13 hits and producing just three in Game 1, Lampasas (19-13) reversed the roles in the second contest, finishing with 11 hits while limiting Bellville to just four.
Ace Whitehead, who recorded seven strikeouts as the Badgers’ pitcher in the first game, led off Game 2 with a single, and moments later, Rascoe connected on a RBI single to send Whitehead home.
The 1-0 cushion held until the fifth inning, when Lampasas second baseman Logan Coleman scored on a passed ball to double the advantage. Then, in the sixth inning, Jon Davis capped off the scoring as pinch hitter Ashton Knowles, a freshman, hit an RBI single to send him across home plate.
“Tonight was Ashton’s time,” Doege said, “and that’s what we are always looking for — someone to spark us. We stress a team mentality, and it may be one guy’s turn one night and another guy’s on another night, but we have to be selfless enough to let that happen and go with it.
“Ashton really stepped up, and who knows who it will be next time.”
With a victory today, the Badgers would advance to play No. 9 Fulshear in the regional quarterfinals, and while Rascoe would prefer to have the matchup secured, he admits taking part in a winner-take-all situation is special.
“There is a lot of anxiety,” he said, “but it is also the best feeling in the world. This is what baseball is about, and if this doesn’t get you excited to play, then nothing will.
“This is just a lot of fun.”
CLASS 4A AREA PLAYOFFS
- Bellville 11, Lampasas 0, 6 innings
- Lampasas 3, Bellville 1, series tied 1-1
- Lampasas vs. Bellville, 3 p.m. at Cameron’s Yoe High School