LV Bears advance to region semifinals
After defeating Cuero two games to one, the La Vernia Bear baseball team is now advancing to the region semifinals in Corpus Christi.
The first game of the series was played in San Antonio on May 15, and La Vernia was listed as the home team. Cuero put its first batter on base with an infield single, but a pickoff play at first and a pair of strikeouts by Colby Skelton quickly retired the side. Justin Trevino hit a single to right field for the Bears in the bottom of the frame, but other than that, it was a quick at-bat for La Vernia, and the teams moved into the second inning with no score.
Both teams threatened to score in the second inning, but neither did. In the top of the third, however, the Gobblers strung some walks and hits together en route to 4 runs and a third-inning lead. La Vernia managed to get 1 run back in the bottom of the third, though. Justus Parker started things off with a double to left, and Trevino moved him over to third after putting down a perfect bunt. The Cuero pitcher then committed a balk, and Parker walked in for a Bear run.
The 4-1 lead for Cuero persisted until the bottom of the fifth inning. Trevino drew a walk to start things off, and Rudy Mendoza singled to center field. A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third, and then Christian Bruce drew a walk to load the bases. A passed ball at home plate allowed Trevino and Mendoza to score, cutting the Gobbler lead to just 1 run at 4-3.
La Vernia held Cuero in the top of the sixth inning, and then went back to work on offense in the bottom of the frame. Cole Lowry started things off with a single to left, and Tristan Gardner drew a walk to put runners on first and second. With Drake Bruner in to run for Lowry, a Cuero fielding error moved Bruner and Gardner up to second and third base, respectively. With a full count hanging over him, Skelton drove a line drive into left field to score Bruner for the tying run, and Gardner for the go-ahead run.
Skelton got caught trying to steal third, but the Bears were not finished in the inning. Parker hit a double to left field, and then Trevino followed up with a double to right, scoring Parker for a 6-4 La Vernia lead.
The Gobblers managed a single in the top of the seventh, but popped out three times to end the game.
After a day off, the teams met up in Victoria on May 17. Unfortunately for La Vernia, the Bears struggled and were unable to close out the series in game two, and dropped a 9-3 decision to the Gobblers.
The Bears threatened with a pair of base runners in the top of the first, but were unable to score. Cuero went to the plate, though, and scored a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame for an early 3-0 advantage. Neither team scored in the second inning, but La Vernia managed to scratch 1 run in the top of the third. Parker tripled to center field, and then scored after Mendoza made contact and ended up safely at first.
La Vernia managed another run in the fifth, and 1 in the sixth inning, but Cuero made it a 4-1 game after the fourth inning, and added 5 runs in the bottom of the fifth en route to the Gobblers’ 9-3 victory.
With the series now tied at a game apiece, the teams moved to a third and final game.
Cuero had the first at-bat of the game, and the Gobblers picked up where they left off in game two, and scored 2 runs for an early lead. The Bears came roaring back in the bottom of the inning, though, and moved ahead of Cuero.
Parker started things off with an infield single, and Trevino reached on an error. Mendoza singled to center field, and the Bears had the bases loaded when Landon Richter came in to run for Mendoza. Parrish put the ball in play by grounding out to first, but Parker scored and two runners were left in scoring position. Bruce was next at the plate and he ripped a single to center field that scored Trevino. Lowry followed up with a single to left, allowing Richter and Bruce to score for a 4-2 La Vernia lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Bears scored 2 more runs for a 6-2 advantage. Cuero came back to score 1 run in the top of the fifth, and 4 runs in the top of the seventh inning. With the Gobblers now leading 7-6 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Bears knew their season was in serious jeopardy.
The first to the plate in the bottom of the seventh was Mendoza, and he reached first on an infield single. Parrish then drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. Bruce came to the plate and a wild pitch allowed Mendoza to advance to third base, and Parrish to move over to second. Bruce showed patience at the plate, but liked the 2-1 pitch he received and drove it into center field. Mendoza easily scored to tie the game, and Parrish motored around for the game-winning run.
The victory means the state-ranked Bears will now advance to the Region IV semifinals. La Vernia will face the Hidalgo Pirates in another best-of-three series. The first game will be played Friday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. Game two and game three, if needed, will be played Saturday, May 24, beginning at 12 noon. All games will be at Cabaniss Sports Complex in Corpus Christi.
La Vernia def. Cuero, 6-4 (Region Quarterfinal).
Bears: Runs: Justus Parker-2, Justin Trevino-1, Rudy Mendoza-1, Drake Bruner-1, Tristan Gardner-1. RBIs: Colby Skelton-2, Trevino-1. Hits: Trevino-3 (1 double), Parker-2 (2 doubles), Mendoza-1, Cole Lowry-1, Skelton-1 (double). Walks: Christian Bruce-2, Trevino-1, Mendoza-1, Colton Parrish-1, Gardner-1, Skelton-1. Stolen bases: Parrish-1, Trevino-1. Pitching: Skelton-5 strikeouts, 5 walks, 3 hits, 4 earned runs; Anthony Sherrard-1 strikeout, 3 hits.
Cuero def. La Vernia, 9-3 (Region Quarterfinal).
Bears: Runs: Justus Parker-1, Justin Trevino-1, Rudy Mendoza-1. RBIs: Christian Bruce-1, Cole Lowry-1. Hits: Mendoza-2, Parker-1 (triple), Austin Preiss-1. Walks: Trevino-2, Colton Parrish-2, Mendoza-1, Bruce-1, Colby Skelton-1. Stolen bases: Mendoza-3, Skelton-1, Trevino-1. Pitching: Preiss-7 strikeouts, 3 walks, 9 hits, 3 earned runs; Tanner Sims-1 walk, 2 hits.
La Vernia def. Cuero, 8-7 (Region Quarterfinal).
Bears: Runs: Christian Bruce-2, Justus Parker-1, Justin Trevino-1, Rudy Mendoza-1, Colton Parrish-1, Tristan Gardner-1, Landon Richter-1. RBIs: Bruce-3, Cole Lowry-2, Parrish-1, Gardner-1, Colby Skelton-1. Hits: Bruce-3 (1 double), Mendoza-2, Parker-1, Trevino-1 (triple), Lowry-1, Gardner-1 (double), Skelton-1 (double). Walks: Parrish-2, Parker-1. Stolen bases: Bruce-2, Mendoza-1, Parker-1. Pitching: Mendoza-5 strikeouts, 4 walks, 6 hits, 4 earned runs.