CROWLEY – For six innings the Tiger offense was more feline than ferocious. Glen Rose then sent six batters to the plate in the top of the seventh inning to score its first three runs of the game and take a 3-2 lead into the bottom half of the final frame.
But with momentum squarely in the corner of the Tigers, Bo Moore’s Palmer Bulldog ballclub rallied for two runs and a walk-off win Friday in game one of the 3A Region II Bi-District.
Behind yet another stellar outing by staff ace, Brock Figuerora (4-1, 1.75 ERA since 12-3A play began), the Bulldogs carried a 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh inning. The righty – who entered the final inning with one hit, five walks and 12 strikeouts through six innings – lost the grip on an off-speed pitch and plunked Codey Barker to put the leadoff runner aboard.
Coincidently it was Barker (2-3, 2.53 ERA), the No. 3 starter on the Tiger pitching staff, who matched the Palmer ace pitch-for-pitch. Although he struck only two Bulldogs and allowed eight hits, Barker needed just 89 pitches to maneuver through his 6.2 IP, while Figuerora tossed 118 pitches during his 6.2 innings of work.
After two fielder’s choice groundouts, Glen Rose centerfield Dylan Hammond (.333/.493/.515) roped a two-out double to deep right-center field to easily score Gus Stoner from first base. The RBI was Hammond’s team-leading 27th on the season.
Moore then elected to make a call to the bullpen after Drayton Williams (.270/.352/.365) drilled the 118th Figuerora pitch to right-center field for his third triple of the season. His three bagger plated Hammond and knotted the game at two.
The Glen Rose catcher scored two pitches later when the 1-ball-and-no-strike offering from the right arm of Palmer’s Gunnar Barnes found the backstop at North Crowley High School.
With Glen Rose holding its first lead of the game, 3-2, Barnes induced a routine groundout to Dylan Lopez at second base to end the inning.
It took just three Barker pitches for the Bulldogs to find themselves down to their final out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Lopez worked a six-pitch walk to put the tying run aboard with two outs and, one-pitch later Ryan Carter (.345/.441/.517) roped a 310-foot double off of the base of the left-field fence for his first RBI since District 12-3A play began. It was also just the third double for Carter during that span.
Glen Rose Head Coach James Evans elected to intentionally walk Damian Garcia before bringing McAnear on in relief of Barker.
Garcia, who finished the evening a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, launched a wind-aided home run in the second inning and added a third-inning single to total the run production for either team through six innings.
With Garcia and Carter on first and second base, respectively, Andrew Sepeda drew a base-on-balls to load the bases full of Bulldogs.
Jacob Ruiz (.267/.313/.267) then delivered the biggest hit of the evening when looped a single over the head of Glen Rose shortstop Camron Rush to plate Carter.
The walk-off loss places the Tigers in a win-or-go-home – or to prom for the juniors and seniors – situation to face Saturday morning.
(16-8) Glen Rose will look to repeat last year’s Saturday magic it found against then-defending state champion Sunnyvale when it takes the field against (17-8-2) Palmer at 11 a.m. on the campus of North Crowley High School. Game three, if necessary, will begin thirty minutes after the final out is recorded in game two.