Longview has produced timely hitting and scoring throughout its 2023 UIL baseball postseason run, and added a game-winning defensive play to top Frisco Reedy’s challenge in Thursday’s 6-5 Class 5A Region II semifinal game one home win, and take a 1-0 series advantage.

The 22-16 Lobos have faced many tests during the postseason, so they continued the tradition of bouncing back on multiple occasions on Thursday, and held off Frisco Reedy’s late rally to improve to 5-1 in one-run games this postseason.

That’s why they’ll have the opportunity to close out the 24-14 Lions in the best-of-three fourth-round playoff series when they travel to Frisco Reedy’s ballpark for Saturday’s 2 p.m. game two and a possible game three after.

“It’s huge,” Longview head baseball coach Jim Goldman said after his program’s series-opening victory on Thursday. “I’m tickled to death we won. I’m not kidding. I can’t speak how tough these guys are. They’re tough as nails.”

“With that said, we gotta win two,” he added. “We’re going to have to work. [Frisco Reedy is] really good. They swing it and they got good pitching.”

Longview trailed 1-0 after Braden Hernandez’s sacrifice groundout scored Jalen Stringfellow in the top of the third, but Ronald Woods scored the game-tying run on an error, and Campbell Williams drove in Jordan Allen on a RBI infield single that gave the Lobos a 2-1 edge in the bottom half of the inning.

“We’ve been doing this the whole playoffs,” Allen said of his team’s bounce back ability. “We’ve been responding to our downfalls in a very good way.”

Frisco Reedy kept fighting because Grant Dovidas’ RBI single drove in Hernandez’s game-tying run in the top of the fifth.

But, Longview went to work again in the bottom of the sixth to take its second lead of the night. Andrew Tutt and DaTravion Gates started the inning with back-to-back singles, and Jose Arellano reached on a fielder’s choice that caused Gates’ out at second base and Tutt’s advancement to third.

Taylor Tatum then came to the plate and pushed through his team’s go-ahead run with a RBI single that scored Tutt.

“Hit the ball no matter what,” Tatum said of his approach in the game-defining inning. “It obviously started a big rally.”

Allen followed with a two-run RBI single that scored Arellano and Tatum, and Drew Flores added a RBI double that drove in Ronald Woods for a 6-2 advantage.

“He got two strikes on me, so I was looking to put the ball in play and get a base hit,” Allen said of the moment. “It just happened that I got two RBIs.”

Frisco Reedy stormed back in the top of the seventh to cut the gap to one with two outs. Springfellow’s RBI single allowed Ryan Alexander to score the Lions’ third run of the frame, but Williams threw the ball home to catcher Flores for the game-winning tag out of Ethan Downum before he could cross home plate.

“We do pregame every single day and that’s one of the things we do,” Williams said of how he was ready for the assist on Thursday. “Right after they throw over to me, I throw it straight to home. It’s like a routine to me now. So, once I saw him going, I just did it out of habit.”

“I see him rounding third [base] and I was yelling for it,” Flores said of his role in preventing another Frisco Reedy run. “[Campbell] made a perfect throw and I got him out.”

Longview is not taking its opponent lightly after Thursday’s thriller. That’s why it used Friday to prepare more for Saturday’s action, and give itself the best chance of advancing to play either Frisco Wakeland or Whitehouse in next week’s regional championship.

“Just come out hot,” Tatum said of his team’s strategy for Saturday. “They’re a very good team, so swing the bats, put the pressure on them, and play good defense. What we’ve been doing for the last three or four weeks. Just keep it rolling.”

Follow Thomas Bingham on Twitter: @Texan8thGen