ROUND ROCK — There was a point in the Class 3A semifinal game against Van Alstyne in which in seemed the Banquete Bulldogs were simply playing out a formality before playing for a state championship Thursday.

Afterall, the Bulldogs led by as much as 7-1 midway through Wednesday’s game at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, with their lead down to one, Banquete was just an out away from victory.

However, this is baseball, and at this level it’s played at an elite caliber. Van Alstyne, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, scored six runs in the last three innings and then one in extra innings to beat the Bulldogs, 8-7, and move on to the state title game. The Panthers’ rally included two runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. The loss ended Banquete’s magical season with an impressive 23-8-3 record.

The Bulldogs led early after scoring two runs in the first and third innings. Leading 4-1, they surged ahead by scoring three in the fourth inning.

CLASS 3A STATE SEMIFINALS

VAN ALSTYNE 8, BANQUETE 7, 8 innings

Banquete 202 300 00 — 7 11 2

VA 010 022 21 — 8 11 3

W — Bryce Curtius (10-1). L — Anthony Gomez (6-1). 2B — Banquete, Gomez, Jake Mijares; VA, Will Jones, Jon Burge. Highlights — Banquete, Richard Sanchez 2-4, RBI, SB; Gomez 2-3, 2B, RBI; Mijares, 2-5, 2B, 3 RBIs; Cooper Wildman 3-4; VA, Jones, 2-4, 2B, RBI; Burge 3-4, 2B, 2 RBIs.

Records — Banquete 23-8-3; Van Alstyne 31-3-2.