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Bearcats squash Scorpions to win bi-district title


Brooks Burdine celebrates after hitting a double early in the season. Burdine went 3-for-7 with a pair of extra-base hits in the Bi-District Championship series against South Hills last weekend.
Brooks Burdine celebrates after hitting a double early in the season. Burdine went 3-for-7 with a pair of extra-base hits in the Bi-District …
Devin Miller winds and fires during a home game for the Bearcats earlier this season. Miller pitched four shutout innings against South Hills in Game 2 of the Bi-District Championship game on Friday, May 3.
Devin Miller winds and fires during a home game for the Bearcats earlier this season. Miller pitched four shutout innings against South Hills in Game …

CROWLEY - Only the weather could prolong South Hills’ season as the Aledo Bearcats made quick work of their Class 5A bidistrict matchup. 

An 11-run sixth inning in the series opener on Thursday, May 2, led to a 17-0 rout for the Bearcats. Lightning in the area forced a weather delay on Friday, May 3, with the Bearcats leading 6-0 in Game 2, allowing the Scorpions to survive the night before Aledo took the title with a 14-3 win on Saturday morning.

The series was kind to the Bearcats. In two games they had more hits than the Rolling Stones (27) and did more plating than a Michelin chef during the dinner rush. 

Aledo’s pitching was virtually unhittable. The Bearcat battery surrendered just three hits in 11 innings of work. Of the 33 total outs Aledo pitchers were responsible for, they struck out 60.6-percent of batters (20 strikeouts).

Game 1

Big innings at the plate defined the wins for the Bearcats. In Game 1, after spraying six runs over the first five innings, Aledo’s offense exploded for 11 runs in the top of the sixth inning. With one away, Boyd Thompson made his way aboard with an infield single to start the inning. Ryan Jones and Drew Weckel earned back-to-back free passes to load the bases for the Bearcat backstop, Brennon Evans.

Evans watched a couple of balls go by following the back-to-back walks issued to Jones and Weckel. In danger of walking a third straight batter, the 2-0 offering to Evans was right where he wanted it, as he singled through the infield to left. Thompson and Jones scored on the play to make it an 8-0 affair at that point.

Aledo was in no hurry to halt the rally as Weston Nance came up with an infield single of his own to load the bases again for the Bearcats. 

With the bases juiced and one out, Zeke Garcia displayed tremendous plate discipline, letting the payoff pitch sail wide of the zone to walk in a run for the Bearcats. 

Up 9-0, Luke Trager hit a bases-loaded line drive to center that fell in for an RBI base hit as Evans scored to put the Bearcats up 10-0. 

Blake Burdine earned an RBI of his own as he drew a four-pitch walk to make the score 11-0 in favor of Aledo with the lineup turning over.

Brooks Burdine had enough of the station-to-station baseball the Bearcats were employing to that point in the inning. After a pitching change for the Scorpions, Burdine drove a pitch on the outer half of the plate to right field for a base-clearing triple. Garcia, Trager, and Blake Burdine all scored on the three-bagger to make it 14-0 in favor of the visiting team.

Not to be outdone by Burdine’s triple, Thompson knocked one of his own with a deep fly ball to center to pick up his second hit of the inning. Burdine scored with ease to make it a 15-0 game.

With Thompson taking up residence at third, Jones hit a grounder to the right side of the infield. Thompson crossed the dish with the only play for South Hills being the routine 4-to-3 for the second out of the inning, as Jones picked up the RBI.

With the bases empty for the first time since Thompson’s single to start the inning, Weckel walked on five pitches for his second free pass of the inning to keep the rally going for Aledo. Evans followed up his RBI single earlier in the inning with an RBI double to deep left field in his second trip to the plate. 

Up 17-0, the Bearcat rally ran out of steam with the Bearcats just three outs from their first win of the series.

Jake Bumgardner entered the game in relief in the bottom of the sixth after Luke Saunders pitched a one-hit gem in the first five innings. Bumgardner clearly wasn’t being paid by the hour, as he used just 11 pitches to strike out the side in order as Aledo won by run rule.

Game 2

Getting the starting nod for Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Friday was Devin Miller. With the weather potentially becoming a factor in the game, Miller worked fast, hammering the strike zone. Of the 40 pitches he threw, 29 went for strikes as he struck out six batters while surrendering a lone hit. 

While the Bearcat defense worked efficiently to get the game in before storms made their way to the area, the same cannot be said for Aledo’s offense. A lengthy bottom of the second saw the Bearcats put six runs across the plate as the weather began to turn for the worst. 

Since aluminum baseball bats and lightning remain an unsavory combination, the umpires were forced to postpone the conclusion of the game in the middle of the fourth inning until Saturday morning.

Even though the storms moved out of the area overnight, Aledo’s bats were electric when play resumed in the bottom of the fourth early on Saturday morning. Ryan Jones and Drew Weckel started off the inning with back-to-back walks with Lucas Nawrocki coming to the plate for Evans. Nawrocki took a look at the first pitch of the at bat for strike one. The second pitch he saw he got an even better look at, as he watched it sail over the right-field fence for a three-run home run that put Aledo up 9-0 to that point.

Nance singled, and Blake Burdine got on base the hard way after he was hit by a pitch. With a pair of runners on base and no outs, Trager singled to right field as Nance scored to make it 10-0.

Reese Hetherington kept the rally going with an RBI single of his own as Blake Burdine scored on the hit. 

Following a stellar pitching performance the day before, Bumgardner got to take his first hacks of the series when he replaced Brooks Burdine at the top of the order for the Bearcats. Bumgardner hit the 2-2 offering right back where it came from. The South Hills hurler was unable to field the ball cleanly, allowing Bumgardner to reach base safely on the error as Trager scored from third.

Leading 12-0, an RBI single by Thompson and a wild pitch that allowed Bumgardner to scamper home from third put the Bearcats in position to close out the game early heading into the top of the fifth inning.

Jenson Huffman came on in relief, picking up in the top of the fifth, where Miller left off the night before. Huffman struggled with his control early, walking the first three batters he faced and allowing a run to score on a passed ball in the process.

South Hills managed to string together a three-run rally of their own in a last-ditch effort to avoid the inevitable. However, Huffman was able to produce back-to-back ground balls to close out the frame. 

Up 14-3, the 10-after-five run rule was implemented as the Bearcats took the bidistrict title to advance to the area round of the playoffs.

Waiting for the Bearcats in the area championship Series at Chisholm Trail High School stands Colleyville Heritage. The best-of-three series started on Thursday, May 9, at 7 pm. Game 2 is slated for 7 pm on Friday. If needed, Game 3 will be Saturday at 2 pm.

Aledo vs. South Hills – Thurs, May                                       

    R   H   E

Bearcats 0 0 3 2 0 11 x -  17   15  1

S. Hills 0 0 0 0 0 0 x -  0   1   0

Aledo hitting: Brooks Burdine 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB; Boyd Thompson 5-for-5, 2B, 3B, SB, 3 R, 4 RBI; Ryan Jones 1-for-4, 2 SB; BB, R, 2 RBI; Drew Weckel 1-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R; Brennon Evans 2-for-2, 2B, 2 SB, 3 BB, 2 R, 3 RBI; Weston Nance 1-for-4, BB, R; Zeke Garcia 2 BB, 2 R, RBI; Luke Trager 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI; Blake Burdine 1-for-3, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Aledo pitching: Luke Saunders (W) 5 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K; Jake Bumgardner 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Aledo vs. South Hills – Fri, May 3        

    R   H   E

S. Hills 0 0 0 0 3 x x -   3   2  4

Bearcats 0 6 0 8 x x x - 14 12 1

Aledo hitting: Br. Burdine 1-for-3, RBI, R; Thompson 2-for-4, SB, R, 2 RBI; Jones SB, BB, 2 R, RBI; Weckel 1-for-1, 3 BB, 2 R; Evans RBI; Lucas Nawrocki 1-for-1, HR, 3 RBI. R; Nance 2-for-3, RBI, R; Bl. Burdine 1-for-2, 2 R; Trager 2-for-2, R, RBI; Reese Hetherington 2-for-3, RBI; Bumgardner R; J. Parker R.

Aledo pitching: Devin Miller 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K; Jensen Huffman IP, H, 3 R (1 earned), 3 BB, K.


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