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Bearcats back in regional final


One year ago, the Aledo Bearcats made the long trip out to Midland, Texas, for a regional final bout with Amarillo High. After taking Game 1, the Bearcats lost the next two games and saw their season come to an end just one win short of the state tournament in Round Rock.

A year later they are back with a vengeance after defeating Abilene Wylie for the second straight year to get to this point. Aledo has been on an almost magical run through the University Interscholastic League Class 5A playoffs, only surrendering one run in their last 29 innings.

The lone run was the only one Abilene Wylie was able to score in the best-of-three Class 5A Region I semifinal series that took place Thursday-Friday, May 26-27, as the Bearcats swept the Bulldogs with scores of 2-1 and 8-0.

The Bearcats (28-10) will once again battle for the Region I crown against the Mansfield Legacy (30-8) Broncos starting at 7 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Cleburne High School. Game 2 is slated for a noon first pitch on Saturday, June 4, with Game 3 to immediately follow if needed, also at Cleburne High School.

Things did not look promising to start the series with Abilene Wylie. The Bulldogs took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning at Weatherford College, but pitcher Ethan Jaques settled in and did not allow another run all game.

After going back and forth defensively, Aledo got on the board in the fourth inning when Andrew Cambre doubled off the right field wall, allowing Max Belyeu to score the tying run.

Ryan Jones gave the Bearcats the lead for good in the sixth inning with a double to right field, scoring Adrian Guzman and awarding Aledo a 2-1 win.

Game 2 switched gears as the series moved to Abilene Christian University. However, the Bearcats had control of the series and they were not about to let it slip away.

Ace pitcher Hunter Rudel took the mound and went right to work, only allowing two hits and shutting out the Bulldogs in their own backyard.

Aledo took the lead in the third inning when Trace Mazon hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing David Jones to score from third.

In the sixth inning, Cade Pulido came in as a pinch hitter and only needed one pitch to double the Bearcat lead with a double to center field, scoring Bryce McCain.

In the seventh inning, the Wylie starting pitcher had done all he could and he was pulled. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they did not have a deep bullpen. With the bases loaded, a walk and two hit batters scored three more Aledo runs, making it 5-0 late in the game.

After Ryan Jones scored on a passed ball, Jaques added the final exclamation with a two-run double bringing the final tally to 8-0.

Despite their incredible run, the Bearcats are not yet satisfied and are aiming to win the region and get back to Round Rock for the first time since 2015.

“We know that we’ve been here before,” head coach Chad Barry said about getting over the next hurdle. “We know what to expect, and really it’s just another series. It’s another playoff series and that’s how we’re going to treat it. I’m not going to try to change things up and throw us out of our routine.”


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