Making his first and only start of the season, Austin Givens gave the Decatur Eagles six and two-thirds solid innings Saturday, retiring 10 straight batters at one point.
But a pair of errors in the bottom of the seventh, including one on the final play, allowed the Frisco Lone Star Rangers to sneak in the game-winning, walk-off, series-clinching run.
The 3-2 loss in game three of the 3A bi-district series at Bronco Field in Denton ended the Eagles’ season at 14-15-2.
Decatur made four errors in the game. Three led to Lone Star’s three runs.
“That’s the story of our season,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter. “The kids fought hard and gave great effort all year. We just had problems with errors. Part of that is age. We had young kids at crucial positions.”
Givens, one of the team’s six seniors, was proud of the progress they made.
“We came a long ways,” he said. “We told each other we were going to focus and make a run at this thing.”
Carter praised the team for banding together after losing four of five in 9-3A, then coming back to win a pair of tiebreaker games to earn the district’s second seed. The Eagles also went into the playoffs without their top pitcher and other shortstop Clayton Egle.
“These guys overcame a lot of adversity,” Carter said. “I’m extra proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Givens had some arm issues entering the season and didn’t throw in a regular season game for the Eagles. But after Egle went down with a knee injury, Carter said Givens came to him and offered to pitch.
“We’ve been working with him for about two weeks,” Carter said.
Saturday, Givens showed no signs of rust, making his first appearance since his sophomore year. He held Lone Star to just four hits, striking out six. He also walked two and hit a batter.
“Given the fact that he’s not done it all year, he did a great job,” Carter said. “He kept us in the game.”
Decatur gave Givens a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Christian Carrillo tripled to right field, knocking in Nick Trachta. Josh Jones then singled in Carrillo.
But Lone Star pitcher Nick Broadaway shut down the Eagles’ bats the rest of the way. Decatur managed only three baserunners in the final five innings and never got one past first.
Givens matched Broadaway after the third, when Lone Star turned a pair of singles, a fielders choice, an error and a groundout into two runs to tie the game. Givens retired 10 in a row before allowing a two-out single in the sixth.
“I was focused since I woke up. I was going to give it all I’ve got,” Givens said. “We just couldn’t get our bats going.”
After the Eagles went in order in the top of the seventh, Givens faced the bottom of Lone Star’s order in the bottom of the frame. After a strikeout, Givens enticed a grounder to short that Mason Baur couldn’t come up with. Givens gave up a walk and then got a groundout for the second out of the inning.
With two outs and a runner at third, Givens got a ground ball to third. AJ Johnson fielded the ball cleanly but made a low throw to first that Trachta couldn’t dig out, allowing the winning run to score.
“You can’t control anything after you pitch the ball,” Givens said. “We made some untimely errors.”