Aledo’s Bearcat baseball team cemented the No. 1 seed in the district just as all aspects of their game finally began to mesh together in the past couple weeks of the regular season.
Taking on Trimble Tech, who earned the fourth seed in their own district, in the bidistrict round of the playoffs, Aledo head coach Chad Barry emphasized the importance of his team trending towards their best baseball at such a pivotal time.
The Bearcats (23-10) overwhelmed the Bulldogs (11-16), sweeping Trimble Tech out of the playoffs by scores of 8-0 and 11-1 in the best-of-three elimination series.
“To play them, and to sweep them is good for our program,” Barry said at the conclusion of the series. “At the same time, I felt like we should sweep them. We were the one seed. They were the four seed out of their district. I told our guys, it’s not about who you’re playing. You’re playing against the ball. You’re playing against the percentages. We can control how sharp we come out and our focus, and make sure we maintain the level that we’re capable of playing at. I stressed to them that’s how we need to play baseball.”
With the first series of the playoffs in the rearview window, the Bearcats look ahead to a matchup with a familiar foe in Burleson (23-6-1) later this week at the Depot in Cleburne.
“We’ve played them the last two years in a row in the second round,” Barry said, looking towards the series against the Elks. “It’s been a dogfight every time. They’re a familiar foe. We know they play well. They’re very well coached with Caden Crawford and Wayne Wayson there. It’s going to be drastically different than the series we just played.”
Every facet of the game went as well as the Bearcats could hope for in the opening round. Matthew Clark and Robert Burk were spectacular in their respective starts, combining for eight-and-one-third shutout innings against the Bulldogs. Jake Bumgardner, Bosten Dwinell, Luke Saunders, and Bryce McCain all put in quality innings of work out of the bullpen allowing a lone run by Trimble Tech in their combined four-and-two-thirds innings.
Offensively, the Bearcats amassed 19 hits in the two games. Starting shortstop Trace Mazon went 6-for-8 in the series, including a 4-for-4 performance at the plate with a double and a triple in Game 2.
Following his 3-for-3 performance that included a home run he absolutely melted over the right-field fence in Game 1, Dwinell couldn’t get a pitch to hit in Game 2. The Bulldogs pitched around Aledo’s starting first baseman hoping to find easier outs elsewhere in the lineup.
On the bases the Bearcats were a constant threat, putting pressure on the Bulldog battery. In total, Aledo stole 11 bags during the two-game set.
“If you’re going to make a run, you’ve got to have everything in the right place at the right time,” Barry stated. “Getting guys thrown out on the bases, not running bases right, you do things like that. Not playing solid defense, not getting timely hits, having good approaches at the plate, if you’re doing any of those things like that, it will show up in the playoffs. It always does. To be able to be consistent. To be able to get better and better each week. It’s a good sign. That’s exactly what we should be doing at this point.”
In spite of how well his team has performed the past three weeks, including in the opening series of the playoffs, Barry knows there is still room for improvement. With another second-round showdown against Burleson waiting in the wings, he’s looking to maximize the time between series to fine tune all aspects of the game before meeting the Elks on neutral ground in Cleburne.
“I think our kids understand that to be able to make deep runs, it’s the little things that count,” Barry added. “There’s a lot of little things that go into the details. The little things get magnified in big games. Little mistakes end up being huge in tight games. Those are the things we’re trying to avoid.”
The best-of-three series against Burleson starts on Thursday, May 11, with games slated for Friday and then Saturday, if needed. Thursday and Friday’s games are slated for a 7 p.m. start. Game 3, if needed, is scheduled for noon on Saturday.
Aledo 8, Trimble Tech 0
Aledo hitting: Brady McAnear 1-for-1, SB; Mazon 2-for-4, 2B; Bo. Dwinell 3-for-3, HR, 2B, SB, RBI; McCain 3-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, SB; Taylor 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2B; Rester RBI.
Aledo pitching: Matthew Clark 5.0 IP, BB, 10K; Jake Bumgardner 1.0 IP; Bo. Dwinell 1.0 IP, K.
Aledo 11, Trimble Tech 1
Aledo hitting: Boyd Thompson 1-for-2, BB, 2 SB; Brooks Dwinell 1-for-4; Trace Mazon 4-for-4, RBI, 2B, 3B, SB; Andrew Cambre 1-for-3, RBI, SB; Bosten Dwinell 2 BB, SB; Dylan Light 1-for-1, 2 RBI, BB; Ryan Jones BB; Bryce McCain 1-for-4, 3 RBI, 2B, SB; Dylan Taylor RBI; Garrett Rester SB.
Aledo pitching: Robert Burk 3.1 IP, BB, K; Luke Saunders 0.2 IP, H; Bryce McCain 2.0 IP, R (0 earned), 3 BB, 4 K.
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