SOUTHLAKE — After striking out on three curveballs in the bottom of the fourth, Denton first baseman Parker Smith came to the plate in the sixth waiting for another chance at a curve.
Saginaw Chisholm Trail pitcher Eric Marquez gave him one and Smith made up for the strikeout, drilling a two-run single up the middle to extend the Broncos’ lead to four Thursday night at Southlake Carroll.
“We came out swinging and hit some balls hard,” Smith said. “We had good hits at big times. It feels good. We’re trying to change the culture here.”
Smith finished with a game-high four RBIs and helped the Broncos jump out to a 5-0 lead in the first. He had a two-run double after Cabrera and Mason Davis drove in a run apiece, and Hayden Braack came around to score on an error in the first.
But after lighting up the scoreboard early, Denton struggled when Eric Marquez took over in relief. Marquez cruised through 5 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits, including two in the bottom of the sixth.
“It was kind of a tale of two games,” Denton coach Jimmy Webster said. “The way we started was really exciting and then we just need to try to keep adding to it — but we didn’t. Parker got the big hit that gave us a little more breathing room.”
While Smith came through in a big way at the plate, Denton ace Cabrera battled through a tough performance on the mound to finish with a complete game, allowing seven hits and striking out five.
Cabrera gave up four hits in the first two innings and surrendered back-to-back RBI triples to Nathaniel Soria and Pedro Puente in the sixth before closing the door in the seventh.
“I thought he grinded through a decent game,” Webster said. “His velocity picked up in the middle innings. To be a really good pitcher, sometimes you have to win when you don’t have it. You find a way to win, and that’s what Jan does.”
“When Jan throws, we need to win,” Webster said. “Now we just need to go relax and play the game.”
Denton 7, Saginaw Chisholm Trail 3
WP – Jan Cabrera. LP – Landon Bell. 2B – Jan Cabrera, Mason Davis, Chris Gurley, Parker Smith (Denton). 3B – Nathaniel Soria, Pedro Puente (Saginaw Chisholm Trail). Records: Denton (19-11-1), Saginaw Chisholm Trail (13-15).
Denton’s Parker Smith rounds third base to score against Saginaw Chisholm Trail on Thursday during a Class 5A playoff game in Southlake.
The Broncos won 7-3 for their first playoff win since 2008