ROUND ROCK — Hallsville fought hard throughout Saturday’s UIL 5A state championship game against Barbers Hill, but fell just short, 2-1, at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond. The Bobcats finished their state finalist campaign with a 33-9 record.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Hallsville head baseball coach Scott Mitchell said of his team’s fight on Saturday. “This group is amazing. They’ve done amazing things. They stayed the course all the way through. That’s all I ask of them.”

Barbers Hill struck first when it jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Cameron Cauley and Brodey Williams singled to get things going and Cauley scored on a fielding error.

It took until the third inning, but Hallsville bounced back. Brayden Walker reached on a fielder’s choice that forced Sawyer Dunagan into an out at second base, and scored on a fielding error that also allowed Kurt Wyman to reach base.

Hallsville starting pitcher Landon Bowden also bounced back from his early game struggles. He struck out Barbers Hill batters Jace Martinez and Simon Larranaga in the bottom of the third inning and Josh Campbell and Braden Jacobs in the fourth. He finished with four strikeouts in his five innings of work and only allowed three hits like last week’s Class 5A Region II championship-clinching performance against Frisco Wakeland.

Unfortunately for him, this start didn’t result in another Hallsville win.

Hallsville produced more runners in scoring position, but wasn’t able to drive them in for a second score. In the fourth, Trenton Smith recorded a two-out single and advanced to second base on a balk, but Logan Jones struck out to end the opportunity.

The fifth saw Conner Stewart record a lead-off single and advance to second base on a throwing error, but Dunagan hit into a double play and Walker struck out. And the sixth saw Matt Houston reach base on a one-out single before pinch runner Hagen Carver was caught stealing between first and second base and Tyler Lee grounded out to end the inning.

The score finally changed in the bottom of the sixth. Martinez walked to start the Barbers Hill inning and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Williams reached base on a fielder’s choice and Martinez advanced to third on Larranaga’s sacrifice fly. And Campbell’s sac fly drove in Martinez’s game-winning run.

Initially, the umpires took the run off the board because Kyle Isaacks left second base early and his out ended the inning. But, they ultimately told Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell that they confirmed the original call and the second Barbers Hill run reappeared on the scoreboard prior to the start of the seventh inning.

“It was a timing play,” said Mitchell. “They said the run scored before we appealed the play at second and they’re probably right, but I didn’t like it and that’s how it goes.”

Hallsville’s final at-bat in the top of the seventh saw Noah Jumper strike out, Smith ground out and Jones foul out.

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Follow Thomas Bingham on Twitter: @Texan8thGen

Howdy y'all! I'm the Longview News-Journal's multimedia sports reporter. I have deep East Texas roots and love covering the region's stories and games. I graduated from UT, and have covered sports in different parts of Texas throughout my career.