Martinez pitches Legacy to sweep of Eaton

Jace Martinez continued the theme of superb Legacy pitching on Friday.

One day after ace Chase Shores threw a two-hitter in a 1-0 shutout, Martinez followed with a gem of his own.

Martinez threw a five-hitter to lead the Rebels to a 2-1 win over Haslet Eaton in Game 2, and a sweep of the Class 6A area playoff series at Ernie Johnson Field.

Legacy (26-9) avenged an area playoff series loss to Eaton (20-12) in 2021, and it will advance to the regional quarterfinal round for the first time since 2016.

It will face the winner of Keller and El Paso Pebble Hills, who will finish their baseball series Saturday in Andrews.

In addition to Martinez’s heroics, LHS got a key hit from sophomore Drew Martin, who lined a two-run single to score Shores and courtesy runner Payton Miller in the sixth inning when Eaton was leading 1-0.

Martin’s go-ahead hit spoiled a fine outing from Eagles starter Cody Brasch, who held LHS to five hits and two walks over six innings along with eight strikeouts.

“My approach was trying to go (opposite field) but he missed middle in, so I punished him for it,” Martin said. “He’s a good pitcher. He gave us a good run for our money. We came out, we battled. I helped my teammates. It was great.”

Martinez attacked the strike zone, walking none, while throwing 66 of his 93 pitches for strikes.

The junior right-hander only got into a three-ball count twice the entire game.

“He did an outstanding job,” Legacy head coach Eric Garcia said of Martinez. “He’s really come along really strong late in district. He’s had a few games like that late in the season. We knew he could do it.

“We were trying to play a chess game. Should we throw our Alex (Melendez), our No. 4 3 to save Jace in case we went to a Game 3. We decided last night, hey, let’s go try to slam the door on them and finish it in two (games). Man, that kid has so much heart on the mound today. He pitched his butt off. I’m just so proud of him.”

Martinez struck out four, while showing great feel for his curveball.

Martinez finished the game on a roll, retiring his last seven batters faced. He threw only 11 pitches in the seventh.

“I just get up there and throw the ball,” Martinez said. “That’s it. If they hit it, they hit it. Let the defense do the work. That’s it.”

Eaton scored its only run in the first when Nolan Bushko got hit-by-a-pitch and came around to score on a double steal that included Nathan Tobin swiping second.

However, LHS got a crucial play in the first to keep the deficit at one run when third baseman Brasen Bernal fielded a bunt and threw to catcher Casen Yonts, who applied the tag on the advancing runner.

After being held to two hits through five innings, the Rebels mounted a threat in the sixth when Shores was hit-by-a-pitch and Yonts and Carson Lauderdale followed with singles to set up a bases-loaded situation that Martin took advantage of with his clutch hit.

“The more we play, these guys are believing in each other and fighting for each other,” Garcia said. “They think they can beat anybody right now. Right now, I will take them in a game against anybody in the state.”

Martin and Lauderdale both went 2-for-3 to lead the Legacy bats.

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @chris_MRTsports


Legacy 000 002 0 — 2 5 0

Eaton 100 000 0 — 1 5 1

Jace Martinez and Casen Yonts. Cody Brasch, Nathan Nunez (7) and Elijah George. W – Martinez. L – Brasch.

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