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Denton takes Game 1 of area round from Richland

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Denton’s Jan Cabrera pitches to Richland on Thursday night.

LEWISVILLE — Denton hadn’t played in an area-round playoff game in more than 10 years, but the Broncos showed no change in their approach Thursday night against Richland.

With Jan Cabrera on the mound, Denton jumped out to an early lead for the fourth straight game before capitalizing on several Richland errors to claim an 8-5 win in Game 1 of a best-of-three Class 5A series.

 “I thought we played well,” Denton coach Jimmy Webster said. “We did a very good job of showing up and going at them early. We don’t stress the timing of it — we just try to stick to having good at-bats.”

The Broncos were in a great position through five innings, holding an 8-2 lead with Cabrera sitting just under 60 pitches. But Richland gave Denton some trouble in the sixth, scoring on a passed ball, a sacrifice fly and an error to pull within three.

Cabrera was able to stop the bleeding, recording a strikeout to end the sixth and retiring the side in order to seal the win in the seventh. He went all seven innings and allowed eight hits while giving up four earned runs and striking out five.

“When you get punched in the face, you decide if you want to keep getting punched in the face or if you want to fight back,” Webster said. “I was proud of us for fighting back.”

Richland scored its first runs on a single from Cameron Coffee to even the score at 2 in the top of the second. But Cabrera, as he has most of the season, dominated through the middle innings.

The junior righty used a key double play from Parker Smith to Mason Davis to get out of the second and retired nine straight batters after giving up a lead off single in the third.

Denton pulled away with three runs in the fifth on RBIs from Christian Herry, Rece Parker and Joseph Frisby. Chris Gurley and Frisby set the tone at the top of the lineup with two hits apiece, while Cabrera had two hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Denton capitalized on Richland’s mistakes, as the Rebels had a total of four errors that led to three unearned runs and walked seven Broncos.

 The Broncos enter Friday night’s Game 2 with a chance to close out the series against Richland ace Drew Henderson. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Lewisville.

“When they make errors, we have to take advantage of their mistakes,” Gurley said. “That’s what we did. Now we just have to get on the board early again [Friday]. It’s going to be tough, but we have a chance.”

Denton 8, Richland 5

Richland 020 003 0 — 5 8 4

Denton 220 130 X — 8 10 1

WP – Jan Cabrera (10-1). LP – Grant Zwald. 2B – Cameron Coffey (Richland), Jan Cabrera, Chris Gurley (Denton). Records: Denton (21-11-1), Richland (23-8).

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