GLEN ROSE — Stephenville High School baseball coach Justin Swenson was encouraged seeing Mason Castleberry’s pitching performance Friday when the Yellow Jackets defeated Glen Rose 6-2 to capture the third-place playoff seeding in District 8-4A.
The Jackets (13-3-2, 7-5 in district) pounced on the Tigers (now 6-6 in district) with five runs in the top of the first inning, and that was really all they needed as Castleberry went to work. He allowed just three hits and two runs in six innings in the regular-season finale, striking out seven and walking just one.
The win secured third place for SHS, which will take on Benbrook, the second-place team out of District 7-4A. That best-of-three series will be played at the Cleburne High School field. The first game will be at 7 p.m. Friday. Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. If a third game is needed, it will follow about 30 minutes after the end of Game 2.
Kade Averhoff drove in three runs with a double for the Jackets. Castleberry also doubled, and drove in a pair while going 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Jackets recorded 11 hits off two Glen Rose pitchers, including eight off starter Jadon Harper. SHS committed two errors on defense.
“I was glad to see the pitching by Mason. He competed his tail off,” Swenson said. “I felt like we struggled a little offensively. We didn’t have our best at-bats after the first inning.”
Glen Rose cut the SHS lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the first, and added a run in the sixth. The Jackets’ final run came in the seventh.
Caleb Smith worked the final inning in relief for the Jackets. He didn’t allow a hit, struck out two and walked one.
Benbrook’s No, 1 pitcher is formidable, so Swenson wants to see the bats get hotter in the postseason.
“We’re going to have to score more runs in the playoffs,” he said. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as I wanted to see. Benbrook has a really good pitcher, who is a freshman.”
The first district meeting with the Tigers was a 3-2 loss for the Jackets, in Glen Rose. Friday’s winner meant that the Jackets won’t have to play the first-place team out of District 7-4A, Kennedale. The Jackets defeated Kennedale in last year’s playoffs to reach the third round.
“The good thing is that was a playoff type game,” Swenson said of the Glen Rose contest. “We came out and got the job done.”
The Jackets had a warmup game on Saturday in Graham against Vernon, and lost by a 7-0 count. They were held to just two hits — a double by Mason Castleberry and a single by Anthony Wehnert. Starting pitcher Derek Gifford went two innings and took the loss Saturday, giving up four runs on five hits. Cade Dunavent, Daniel Luna, Caleb Smith and Clay Krause pitched in relief.