Tiger baseball doesn’t have a district title in the bag just yet, but Glen Rose is at the checkout counter with cash in hand.
The Tigers (13-11, 7-3) used a five-run sixth inning to power past the host Alvarado Indians 6-2 and win the season series 2-1. Glen Rose finished with more hits (10-5) and each team made three errors. The Tigers are now closing in on their first district title since 2009.
“If we win our last two we’re district champs, and these guys deserve it,” said coach Kenny Toney. “It was great, especially after the fifth inning when we gave them those two (unearned) runs to see us respond with five runs.”
Austin Gibson (HR, 2 singles, RBI) hit his first varsity homer and delivered his second-straight district game with three hits.
“It was nice to get that kind of start to the game and put us ahead (in the second),” Gibson said. “They’re kind of our rival, so the fact we beat them two of three times makes this a great win.”
Curry Mapes blasted a two-run shot for his first homer since 2011.
“If we win our next two, we’re district champs,” Mapes said. “That’s special in my senior year, especially in baseball because that’s my sport.”
Taylor Hansen (double, 2 singles) joined Gibson with a three-hit game.
“Hansen hit the ball well to keep things going,” Toney said.
Other contributors were Colten Lane (single, 2 RBIs), Hayden Bach (double), Cody Burtscher (single) and Preston Shuffield (RBI).
Bach (7 IP, 2 R – 0 ER, 5 H, 2 W, 8 K) was lights-out in several of his innings on the mound.
“Hayden pitched pretty well,” catcher Mapes said. “Both of his walks I thought should’ve been strikes, but he pushed through it and did great. They didn’t have many solid hits.”
In a scoreless first inning, Bach doubled down the right-field line to open the game and in the bottom of the frame second baseman Hansen and shortstop Hayden Holder combined on a double play.
“That was good to get their three-hole to hit into a double play,” Toney said.
With one out in the Tiger second, Gibson put a solo shot over the left-field fence (1-0). Hansen doubled to deep left field moments later.
“Austin is just on a roll, and we’ll take it,” Toney said. “Watching him in batting practice, I knew it was just a matter of time until he got one.”
Bach retired the side in the home second, including two strikeouts.
“Hayden is just a competitor,” Toney said. “For the most part, he threw well and that’s why he’s our No. 1.”
In the home third, Bach struck out the side on 10 pitches.
“(Bach) is a great pitcher,” Gibson said. “We have a lot of faith in him. Even if they’re ahead, we’re not scared because he’s up there.”
Although Glen Rose didn’t add to its lead in the fourth, Burtscher and Gibson hit consecutive singles.
“Cody hit the ball hard,” Toney said.
Bach faced just three batters for the fourth-straight time in the fourth, as left fielder Jayton Dillard made a nice running catch and Bach picked off a runner (single) at first base on a Shuffield tag.
The Tigers finally ran into some trouble in the fifth, as they fell behind 2-1 via a double, a single and two errors.
Glen Rose began to terrorize the Indians in the top of the sixth, as Shuffield drew a leadoff walk and then Mapes bashed the game-winning homer way out of the park to left (3-2).
“Coach Toney had just asked me if I could push bunt,” Mapes said. “I said ‘Yeah, just let me have one hack’. (Coach) gave me one strike, so I knew if that kid gave me my pitch I was going to swing as hard as I can. He gave me knee-high inside – that’s my pitch – and it happened to stay fair.”
After Burtscher reached base on a fielding error, Glen Rose got three-straight hits from Gibson (single), Hansen (single) and Lane (2-RBI single) for a 5-2 advantage.
“Colten got a crucial hit right there,” Toney said. “Any insurance runs you can get are great, especially from a sophomore.”
After Chance Nabours reached base on a fielding error and Bach walked to load the bases, two batters later Shuffield (RBI) drew a walk to finalize the 6-2 score, as a pitching change didn’t stop the bleeding for the purple team.
Although Alvarado put two runners on in its sixth, a nice snag-and-tag by Lane at third saved a run. In the home seventh, centerfielder Burtscher made a charging grab and Gibson caught one in right before Bach’s last strikeout stranded runners on the corners.
Glen Rose will now travel to Venus on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
“I used a little bulletin board material to motivate these guys,” Toney said. “It’s nice to be able to come over here and win on their home field. The key to finish out district is to be focused each game.”