• Centennial junior Thomas Santos, shown in action earlier this season, held Fort Worth Trimble Tech to three hits and a one run in a bi-district round series-clinching, 4-1, win Saturday at Crowley High School. BURLESON STAR/TIM SOUTHERLAND

Spartans tame Bulldogs

CROWLEY – After getting out of a scare Thursday night, Centennial backed by the pitching of junior Thomas Santos defeated Fort Worth Trimble Tech, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at Crowley High School to sweep the best-of-three Class 5A bi-district playoff series.

Santos tossed a three-hit complete game allowing one run while striking out seven and walking three. Ethan Quintanilla, who had been designated hit for in past games, came up big with an RBI single in the sixth that gave the Spartans a 3-1 cushion.

Centennial (24-6) will take on Lake Dallas (18-13) in a best-of-three area-round playoff series at Saginaw Chisholm Trail. Game 1 is slated for 7:30 p.m. tonight. Game 2 will be at 4:30 p.m. Friday with a third and deciding game to follow, if needed.

The winner of the series will face the winner of the Fort Worth Arlington Heights-Saginaw Chisholm Trail series in the regional quarterfinals.

“We actually reached one of our goals of getting 10 hits today,” Centennial coach Brad Hart said. “Our goal is to get 10 hits and score five runs. We think if we get both of those with our pitching staff, we don’t lose.”

After falling behind, 1-0, in the top of the first, Centennial answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Andruw McKenzie hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Santos run-scoring grounder to the second baseman.

In the second, the Spartans loaded the bases but could one scratch one run on a RBI sacrifice fly by Quintanilla that scored Blake Birdwell for a 2-1 lead.

“The one negative thing is we have left a lot of men on base in the last two days,” Hart said. “We had a chance to crack it open today and we just didn’t do it. But you don’t hate on a win.”

Last Thursday, the Spartans built a 7-0 lead through four and a half innings then held on for a 7-5 win in the series opener at  Arlington Heights.

“We came out of the box doing a lot of good things,” Hart said. “Just mentally about the fifth inning we kind of got out of it and let them make a game of it. We had a lot of free bases that let them get back into it. They made us pay for giving up those free bases.”

McKenzie had a big night at the plate going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a double. Santos went 3-for-3 with a three RBI. Micah Bennett, Birdwell, Beau Staton and Noah Menchaca each drove in runs.

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Centennial junior Thomas Santos, shown in action earlier this season, held Fort Worth Trimble Tech to three hits and a one run in a bi-district round series-clinching, 4-1, win Saturday at Crowley High School. BURLESON STAR/TIM SOUTHERLAND