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Bears beat Buffaloes in area championship series
PFLUGERVILLE -- It was a tight series, but after winning two of three games against the Giddings Buffaloes, the La Vernia Bear baseball team is heading to the region quarterfinals.
La Vernia traveled up to Pflugerville for the best-of-three series, and picked up a 6-5 win in the first game.
After three scoreless innings of play, Giddings struck first in the top of the fourth inning with a single run. The Bears came back in the bottom of the frame to score 2 of their own, though. Cole Lowry drew a walk to start things off, but then Tristan Gardner and Colby Skelton went down for two quick outs. Colby Sims drew a walk, and then Lowry stole third to put runners at the corners. A passed ball at the plate allowed Sims to get over to second, but wasn’t enough for Lowry to go home. Justus Parker ripped a line-drive single into right field, though, and both Lowry and Sims motored their way around to home plate for a 2-1 lead.
After a three-up, three-down defensive stand for La Vernia in the top of the fifth inning, the Bears went back to work on offense in the bottom of the frame. Colton Parrish was hit by a pitch, and walked over to first with one out in the inning. Parrish then moved over to second base on a passed ball, and Christian Bruce drove him in with a double to right field. Lowry then singled to left field, and Bruce was able to score for the Bears’ 4th run of the game.
Giddings got 1 run back in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 4-2 game, then scored 3 in the top of the seventh to take the lead over La Vernia at 5-4.
The Bears needed 1 run in the bottom of the seventh to keep the game alive, and that is exactly what they got. Mendoza drew a one-out walk, and then eventually scored when Bruce drove a single out to right field. The 5-5 tie sent the game into extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning, but Giddings threatened in the top of the ninth. The Bears retired the side, though, and then went to work on offense. After two quick outs from Parker and Justin Trevino, Mendoza started a little two-out rally with a single to left field. Parrish hit an infield single to keep things going, and both runners moved up a base thanks to a Buffalo error. Bruce put the ball in play and reached first on another fielding error. Mendoza was able to score on the play, and the Bears celebrated a 6-5 win.
With a one-game lead, the Bears were hoping to close things out early against Giddings. Unfortunately, the Buffs had other ideas.
La Vernia was the visiting team for the second game and Parker drew a walk to get the game started. A couple of pop-outs from Trevino and Mendoza moved Parker over to third, and a well-timed single from Parrish brought Parker in for a 1-run lead. That would prove to be the Bears’ only run of the game. In the bottom of the first, Giddings scored 2 runs to take the lead. The score persisted for the remaining six innings of play, and Giddings tied the series at 1-1 by virtue of their 2-1 game victory.
After a short break, the teams returned to the field for a third and final playoff game. La Vernia was once again listed as the visiting team, and had the first at-bat.
Trevino reached base on an error, and Parrish hit a single to center field, but in the end, the Bears were unable to score in the first. A walk and double by Giddings yielded 1 run in the bottom of the frame, though, and the Buffaloes added another run in the bottom of the third for a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Bears got things cranked up. Skelton started off the inning with a double into left field, and then Parker singled to move Skelton to third. Parker then stole second base, and Trevino grounded out to first, but Skelton ran in for the Bears’ first run of the game. Mendoza then singled into left field, and Parker easily scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Drake Bruner went in to run for Mendoza, and Parrish drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Bruce popped out, but Bruner and Parrish each moved up a bag. Lowry hit an infield single to score Bruner and Parrish, and the Bears were on top, 4-2.
The score held until the top of the seventh inning when La Vernia padded the score a bit. Trevino got things started with a single to center field. A pair of outs threatened to end the Bears’ at-bat, but then Bruce singled to left, putting runners at first and second. Lowry came to the plate and hit another single. A Giddings error allowed Trevino to score, and the lead was 5-2 for La Vernia.
Mendoza picked up his fourth strikeout of the game to start the bottom of the seventh inning, and then the defense helped him out with a pair of pop-outs. Mendoza threw the complete game.
The 3-run victory gave La Vernia the series, and advances the Bears into the region quarterfinal round of the playoffs. The Bears will play the Cuero Gobblers in a best-of-three series this weekend. Game one will be played Thursday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Northside Don Hardin Sports Complex off Culebra Road in San Antonio. Game two, and game three (if needed), will be Saturday, May 17, beginning at 2 p.m. at Riverside Stadium in Victoria.
For updates and results, visit www.wilsoncountynews.com.
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