Tigers bow out of playoffs with losses to Graham

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter

GRAHAM — The magical season for the Glen Rose Tigers came to an end Saturday with a pair of one-run losses in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

The Tigers won Game 1 on Friday night in extra innings, and needed just one win to advance, but they came out on the losing end of a pitcher’s duel and a slugfest.

Glen Rose’s Eisen Sanchez slides in safely at the plate during the third inning of the second game Saturday.

“Obviously, we wanted to make a longer run in the playoffs than we did. Hopefully, the kids are proud of what they did accomplish this season, but more so, hungry to have even more success next year,” first-year Glen Rose baseball coach Heath Herron said.

“We've got a lot of starters coming back and some kids coming up from the lower levels that will make an immediate impact at the varsity level for us next season,” Herron said. “The seniors from this year's team will definitely be missed, but they have set a great standard for our upcoming players on how to lead and compete. We as a coaching staff are very appreciative of all that the five seniors put into this program.”

With the losses, the Tigers ended the year 13-17 overall and 6-6 (second place) in District 6-4A, one year after going 0-12.

“District was really good in the sense of finishing up strong. We started district play with a 2-5 record and were sitting in last place,” Herron said. “The kids rose up, winning four out of the last five district ballgames. Again, that just speaks to the type of kids we have here in Glen Rose and their never-quit attitude. We were really proud of them for that finish in district play.”

In the first game on Saturday, sophomore right-hander Jake West was brilliant in allowing just two hits in the complete game, but took the loss after giving up a bases-loaded base hit to allow the game’s only run.

“Jake pitched an unbelievable game on Saturday,” Herron said. “Being in the strike zone, especially early in at-bats, was huge for him. He got nine of his outs on first pitches of at-bats. That’s pretty incredible and something you don't see very often in this game.”

West didn’t face more than four hitters in any of the first four innings before facing seven hitters in the fifth.

For the game, he struck out two, walked two and hit one batter.

Glen Rose’s Jake West threw a complete-game two-hitter but was on the losing end of a 1-0 pitcher’s duel in the first of two games Saturday.

“When two pitchers are going at it like Jake and their guy (Ryan Grimsley) were, it usually is going to come down to who can get a key hit to win the game,” Herron said. “Unfortunately for us, Graham was the team to get that key hit with two outs. That's just the way baseball goes sometimes.”

The Tigers had their chances. They left two on base in the first inning and two in scoring position with one out in the fourth before the inning ended on a double play. Cannon Harper doubled and Bodee Mausser singled in the inning for two of the Tigers’ three hits in the game.

The Tigers went down in order in the final three frames.

In the must-win Game 3, the Tigers trailed 12-6 heading into the seventh, and they scored five runs and had the tying run in scoring position before losing 12-11.

“It was a pretty wild inning there in the top of the seventh,” Herron said. “You just to get to that point is a testament to the kids and how much fight they have. It had been a long, hot day and both teams were gassed. It was fun to watch them never quit competing.”

The Tigers scored two runs in the top of the first before allowing four in the bottom of the frame to trail 4-2.

Glen Rose added a run in the second and two in the third to take a brief 5-4 lead. The Steers plated four runs in the third, and after the Tigers added a run in the fourth, Graham scored another four runs in the fourth to lead 12-6.

The first five hitters in the Glen Rose seventh reached base with Aiden Sanchez and Eisen Sanchez reaching with singles, and the next three reaching on walks but the Tigers couldn’t plate the equalizer in falling 12-11.

Herron will use this season as motivation for his club heading into next year.

“We still have a lot of work to do to get to the point of where we think we should be, but we're headed in the right direction for sure,” Herron said. “With the work ethic and will of our kids, I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish.”