Holy Cross softball only area team still alive in playoffs
By Mike Considine
And then there was one.
Holy Cross’ softball squad is the last local team standing after the second week of the playoffs. Six area UIL baseball teams were eliminated in the bi-district round and Central Catholic lost in the TAPPS area round, all in the first week.
McCollum was the last surviving baseball team.
The Cowboys had lost their Class 4A best-of-three series opener to Gregory-Portland Thursday and trailed from the bottom of the first inning Saturday on the way to a 12-2 loss at the Corpus Christi area school.
Holy Cross (23-14-2) will play Fort Bend Christian (24-13) from Sugar Land 7 p.m. Monday in the TAPPS 4A region round. If they Knights win the game at Texas A&M, they’ll advance to the state semifinals.
Gregory-Portland (23-7-1) wrested the lead from McCollum (22-6) in the bottom of the first inning of their Class 4A bi-district game Saturday. The Cowboys had scored in the top half of the inning.
The Wildcats were playing longball in Game 2 of the series. Blake Harmon and Mickie Erwin hit home runs. Erwin’s was an inside-the-park shot. Ruben Martinez hit a bases-loaded triple in the fifth that ended the game due to the 10-run rule.
Gregory-Portland won the first game 10-4 Thursday at the Frank Tejeda Complex.
Senior Jonathan Arevalo led the Cowboys in Game 1 with two hits. Patrick Jauregui contributed a two-run triple to McCollum’s sixth-inning rally. Freshman Rafael Ramirez and junior Ryan Villalobos also drove in runs.
`McCollum stats from Saturday’s game were unavailable.
The Bobcats (17-15) ended their season with a classic pitcher’s duel between O’Connor’s Mark Ecker, one of the area’s best, and underrated South San senior Joseph Valle.
O’Connor (25-4), No. 1 in the Express-News area rankings, escaped with a 1-0 victory in the Class 5A bi-district game at Burrows-Gustafson Stadium. The Panthers scored in the third inning. Daniel Cruz hit a double in the inning and Gavin Johnson (2-for-2) brought the run home with an RBI double.
Ecker (7-0, 0.98 ERA), a Texas A&M signee, allowed two hits and struck out nine Valle (5-5, 0.98 ERA) scattered eight hits, but he combined with the Bobcats’ defense to strand nine runners and throw out two at home plate.
South San put two runners on base in the fourth inning, after Ecker was hit with a line drive on his right leg. However, the Bobcats were unable to advance them with a bunt and Ecker got out of the jam.
The Golden Bears (15-15) , the No. 3 seed from District 29-4A, went out like the senior-dominated team they are.
Edison tied the score twice in the early going and rallied for three runs in the seventh Friday at SAISD Field No. 1, but couldn’t extend their Class 4A bi-district series to the limit. Kerrvillle Tivy handed Edison a heart-breaking loss 7-6.
The Golden Bears tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning. Edison also responded in the fourth after the Antlers had broken the tie for a 3-2 lead in the top of the inning. But Tivy again took a one-run lead in the fifth and added three more runs in the top of the seventh.
Edison rallied for three runs of its own to close within a run in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t score the equalizer. Tivy took the lead on an unearned run.
Kerrville Tivy won the opening game in the best-of-three series 6-0 Thursday in Kerrville.
Senior center fielder Nick Canas had his best game of the season, but the Bulldogs (13-16) couldn’t quite catch Hays (19-9) Friday in Buda.
The Rebels scored three runs in the first inning and swept the best-of-three series against Burbank. The Bulldogs were eliminated with a 9-7 loss.
“I think, if we could have gotten to a third game,” Burbank coach Romeo Barrera said, “I would have liked our chances. They ended up bringing in their ace in the seventh inning, after he had pitched the night before. So, obviously, they had a sense of urgency.”
Canas had three hits in his final game, all for extra bases. The senior hit a solo home run in the second inning that brought Burbank within 3-1. He also belted a double and a triple to drive in three runs.
The Bulldogs scored in the fifth inning and manufactured a five-run rally in the sixth. Unfortunately for Burbank, the combustible Rebels had produced another big rally by then.
Hays increased its lead to 8-1 in the fourth inning. Burbank cut it to 8-7 in the top of the sixth, but Hays added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulldogs weren’t able to score in their last at-bat against Hays reliever Tyler Woodmansee, who had limited the Bulldogs to five hits while striking out 10 in Game 1.
Burbank starting pitcher Andy Morales drove in two runs. Fellow senior Eduardo Salas also collected an RBI.
Bulldogs sophomore catcher Conrad Perez drew three walks and senior Matt Ramirez walked twice.
bottom of the seventh inning of their bi-district series opener at SAISD Field No. 1 Thursday.
Hays took the lead in the best-of-three series with a 10-1victory.
The Rebels scored in the first inning and tacked on two more runs in the third. A grand slam home run from Texas State signee Granger Studdard helped Hays build an 8-0 lead in the sixth. Hays outhit Burbank 8-5.
The Bulldogs had won their previous three games.
The Indians (13-13) rallied to within two runs of Victoria East (26-13) Friday at Riverside Stadium in Victoria, but the Titans prevailed 8-2 on their home field.
Harlandale strung together five consecutive hits with two outs in the third inning of the one-game Class 4A bi-district playoff. The two-run rally made the score 4-2 in Victoria East’s favor.
The Indians weren’t able to score again, despite nearly matching their hosts in hits. The Titans had eight hits against Harlandale ace Michael Agis (9-1, 0.51 ERA). Harlandale finished with seven hits.
Victoria East went to the bullpen after the Indians’ big inning. Relief pitcher Kyle Craft put up 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while striking out 10.
The Titans had success with a patient plate approach against Agis, who struck out seven. They had baserunners in each inning. After taking the lead with four runs in the second, they scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to assure the win.
The Owls (8-18) managed five hits against District 27-4A champion Clemens (20-8) and its ace pitcher, J.J. Elkins, at SAISD Field No. 2 Friday.
The Buffaloes won 13-0 in the one-game playoff. They produced three big innings, scoring three runs in the second, four in the fourth and ending the game with six in the fifth.
Garrett Kizer hit a home run for Clemens. The Buffaloes finished with 14 hits.
Highlands had won its final district game and a fourth-place tiebreaker to reach the playoffs.
The Buttons (22-10-1) ended their season last Wednesday with a 6-3 loss at Houston St. Thomas (26-6) in the TAPPS Class 5A area round.
St. Thomas is coached by former Houston Astros all-star Craig Biggio. Rawlings Elam, Greg Hoffman and Cavan Biggio, the coach’s son, all had two hits for the Eagles. Hunter Pallasch hit a home run and drove in three runs.
New Braunfels Canyon (31-5) closed out the Class 5A area-round battle of two of the best teams in the metroplex, defeating the Dragons (31-7) 8-6 Friday at Southwest.
Canyon, No. 2 in the Express-News area rankings, staked out an eight-run lead in the first five innings behind senior pitcher Marilee Burge. The Cougars took the lead with help from a solo home run by Bianca Prada and a four-run outburst in the fifth.
They had to hold off a furious rally by the Dragons, who seldom lose on their home field, thereafter. No. 4 Southwest began its comeback with senior shortstop Miranda Medina’s 10th home run of the season in the sixth inning.
Trailing 8-2, the Dragons got another home run from catcher Gabby Flores in the seventh. Consecutive doubles from Amanda Sanchez and Elizabeth Phillips, followed by a run-scoring Canyon error brought Southwest within three runs. Freshman Caitlin Terrazas added another run with a two-out, RBI single.
Canyon ended the game on a ground out.