GRAND SALINE — It has been years since the LaPoynor Flyers’ baseball team has been to the postseason and they have never been ranked in the state.
The No. 7 Flyers continued their playoff journey in 2019 in the regional quarterfinals against the Sulphur Bluff Bears.
LaPoynor took Game 1, 4-1, behind stellar pitching and walked off in the bottom of the seventh inning in a thrilling Game 2, 9-8, on Saturday to sweep the Bears.
After Dawson Fortner reached first base on an error and Blaine Coats singled to start the game, the Flyers would strike first, 2-0, as Fortner would score on a passed ball and Kase Johnston scored Coats on an RBI single.
It was 3-0 LaPoynor when Caden Young scored on an error by Montana Hurley in the top of the second.
The Flyers took their largest lead at 4-0 in the top of fourth as Young stole third base on an error by Hurley and would come home on the same play.
The Bears scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Landon Lambert grounded out to Johnston and John Brown scored and they trailed 4-1, which was the final score.
Fortner earned the win for LaPoynor with 4.1 innings, with a no-hitter in the first three innings, one hit, six strikeouts and two walks.
Johnston pitched 2.2 relief innings with one run and a pair of walks.
The Bears scored first with Trayton South’s RBI single that scored Hunter Wallis in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the first, the Flyers tied it at 1-1 when Jett Riley’s RBI single sent home Dawson Turner.
LaPoynor broke through in the bottom of the second for their biggest lead at 6-1. Fortner’s two-run RBI double scored Caleb Solis and Mason Grubbs, Coats’ RBI single scored Fortner, and Turner’s two-run home run to left field scored himself and Coats.
Sulphur Bluff trimmed it to 6-3 when Trayton South and Brandon Branom drew bases-loaded walks in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the third, Gunner Gracey grounded out and Young scored to make it 7-3.
The Bears cut the lead to one run at 7-6 in the top of the fourth inning as South’s RBI single scored Hurley and two runs scored on a throwing error by Young.
Austin Majors’ RBI single that scored Lambert in the top of the fifth tied it at 7-7.
LaPoynor jumped back ahead, 8-7, with Johnston’s RBI single to score Turner in the bottom of the fifth.
Brown scored on Branom’s RBI single and it was tied again at 8-8 in the top of the sixth.
The Flyers walked off in the bottom of the seventh for the 9-8 series-clinching win after Johnston led off with a big triple and Young sent him home with an RBI double, giving LaPoynor the regional quarterfinal title.
Johnston started for the Flyers and went two innings with one run on three hits plus one strikeout and two walks.
Grubbs, Young and Fortner combined to pitch the last five innings in relief.
The Flyers return to Grand Saline on Thursday and Friday for the regional semifinals against the Union Hill Bulldogs.
Game 1 is Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Game 2 is Friday at the same time and, if necessary, Game 3 would be 30 minutes after Game 2.