Needing a seventh-inning run to tie the game after scoring twice in the sixth, the Aledo Bearcats got two runners on base in the final frame but could not punch across the tying run as Burleson Centennial came away with a 5-4 win Friday night in a District 8-5A baseball game at AHS.
The loss drops the ‘Cats to 1-1 in district play, while Centennial raised its league mark to 2-0.
The Bearcats were in position to tie the game when second baseman Calloway Shands lined a two-out double down the right-field line that advanced Jacob Ashkinos to third base. Ashkinos had reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Shands led the Bearcats at the plate with three hits, including a double.
But with runners on second and third with two outs, Centennial relief pitcher Jacob Meador induced a ground out to seal the win for the Spartans.
Centennial starting pitcher Thomas Santos recorded the win, allowing two runs on five hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts in five innings. Meador earned the save, throwing two innings and giving up two runs on four hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Kannon Brown went the distance for the Bearcats and took the loss. He allowed five runs – four earned – on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
“I liked the way we battled back (from being down 5-2),” Bearcats head coach Chad Barry said. “Centennial is a good ball club and that was a heck of a baseball game. But we need to get better at the plate – we took too many called third strikes. I was disappointed in that and we have to get better there.
“I thought Kannon pitched a good game. He battled and battled and he did not walk a batter. He missed on a couple of his spots, and when he missed Centennial made him pay. But what I really liked was Kannon came to me and said ‘let me have the seventh’ and I said OK. He knew I was going to take him out (in the seventh inning) if a batter got on base, but he retired the side in order (striking out the last two batters) to give us a chance to tie or win it. It just didn’t quite work out for us tonight.”
Aledo trailed 5-2 as the game worked its way to the bottom of the sixth inning.
Shands and Rhett Anderson each singled to begin the frame to put runners on first and second with no outs. The next batter, Hunter Rosson, hit a ground ball to Centennial second baseman Andrew McKenzie, who quickly grabbed the grounder and tagged Anderson, who was trying to advance to second. But on McKenzie’s throw to first base in an attempt to get a double play the ball sailed wide, allowing Shands to score and cut the lead to 5-3.
Rosson scored two batters later when Nick Cheema hit into a fielder’s choice. On the play, Cheema hit a hard ground ball at the first-base bag. Centennial first baseman Micah Bennett scooped up the grounder, tagged the bag with his foot for the second out, but with the force taken away he threw to second baseman McKenzie, who tagged out Noah Collins. However, Rosson crossed the plate before the tag for the third out and the Bearcats were awarded the run to cut the Centennial lead to 5-4.
After Brown sent down the Spartans in order in the seventh, Meador came up with the big out in the bottom portion of the frame as Centennial escaped with the win.
“We know the winner of this district won’t go undefeated,” Barry said. “We are just two games into district, and there is a lot of baseball left to play.”
Centennial took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Bennett, with the bases loaded, ripped a two-out, bases-clearing triple. But Brown came right back with a strikeout to end the rally.
The Bearcats scored twice in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 3-2.
Jacob Ashkinos led off with a single, and after a strikeout, Shands and Anderson each singled to load the bases. With the bases full and one out, Rosson patiently worked a walk that plated Askinos.
Two batters later, Griffin Benson slashed a single to right field, and it appeared the Bearcats would tie the contest. On the base hit Shands easily scored from third, but Centennial right fielder Adrian Gracia fired a bullet to catcher Payton Strambler, who applied the tag on Anderson who was attempting to score from second base.
Centennial scored two run on two hits – including an RBI triple from Bennett – in the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead.
The Bearcats will continue district play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Everman.