Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bulldogs rout Galveston College at regional tournament, 11-3...

Bulldogs rout Galveston College at regional tournament, 11-3

BRENHAM, Texas—On a day dominated by the East Division, Texarkana College may have been the most dominant of all in Saturday’s opening round of the 2009 Region XIV baseball tournament at Blinn College.

Ironically, the Bulldogs, Navarro College and Panola College all won by the 8-run rule that goes into effect in the seventh inning. Even more ironic were the identical final scores, 11-3, Navarro beating host Blinn in seven innings and Panola downing defending champion Alvin College in eight.

As for Texarkana College, the win became official when David Allday’s opposite-field double to left sent Joaquin Hinojosa scurrying home from first with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. The same combination almost ended the game on the 10-run rule with one out in the bottom of the fifth when Allday singled Hinojosa to third, but was nailed at second base on the cutoff throw from the shortstop. The next batter, Thomas Watson, hit a high fly ball to right, which would have been plenty deep enough to plate the deciding run.

While it had no bearing on the eventual outcome, the play did have some significance. TC starter John Stilson (11-1) had thrown only 37 pitches through five innings, but needed 24 to get through the sixth when Galveston scored its second run and left two men on base.

“John still only threw about 60 pitches, and he was just pitching to contact today,” said TC coach Will Bolt. “He wasn’t necessarily trying to strike everybody out. He was just attacking the zone and trying to make them make contact early in the count. He was able to do that the first five innings even though they hit some balls hard.”

Stilson, who struck out three and walked two, retired seven batters with a first pitch. Shane Cole pitched the seventh, allowing a home run to Scott Paskat, the first batter he faced, before retiring the next three, one by strikeout.

“We had a chance to end it in the fifth when John’s pitch count was down, and didn’t get it done, then he labored a little bit in the sixth,” Bolt said.. “But the sixth inning was going to be his last regardless of what happened.”

The Bulldogs (38-13) never trailed after leadoff batter Trey Buck belted a home run to left in the bottom of the first inning. It was the first of three long balls by TC, the others coming in an 8-run second after an error opened the floodgates.

Buck reached on the error with one out, and Austin Atwell followed with a double to right, putting runners at second and third. Galveston starter Dan Lazarou almost escaped without scoring damage, forcing a pop fly to the shortstop for the second out, but Hinojosa, who was 3 for 3 with four runs batted in, blasted his team-leading 10th home run near the 355-mark in left-center to make it 4-1.

Jordy Snikeris’ single between a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases, and Lance Marvel dumped a single to right, driving in two runs. Jake Rogers capped the rally when he lined the first pitch over the fence in left for a 2-run homer.

“They booted the ball, and we took advantage of it,” Bolt said. “I thought we swung the bats well.”

Ryan Sampere came on in the fourth inning to quiet the Bulldogs bats, although he yielded an unearned run when Atwell bunted for a hit and went all the way to third base when the ball was thrown away. He scored on Hinojosa’s hit up the middle.

Atwell and Allday, each with a double and single, joined Hinojosa with multiple hits in the game.

Bolt wasn’t surprised with the East Division’s early success in the tournament.

“We knew the East was strong this year, and the top three teams showed it today,” he said. “And I think (4th seed) Angelina is capable of making some noise, too.”

Angelina played the South Zone’s top seed, San Jacinto North, in Saturday’s late game.

Texarkana plays Navarro at 5 p.m today in the winner’s bracket. Navarro was the only team holding an edge over the Bulldogs in round-robin conference play.

“We won the last one, and we think we outplayed them in three out of the four games in conference,” Bolt said. “Actually, we beat them in a tournament down here, and I think we’ve played well enough to win every one of those games except one. If we keep swinging the bats like we are, I like our chances.”

Elmination games will be played at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today with Blinn and Galveston meeting in the first and Alvin and the loser of Saturday’s late game the other. The winner of the late game will play Panola at 8 p.m.

Galveston College 010 001 1 — 3 4 2

Texarkana College 108 100 1 — 11 11 0

No outs when game ended on 8-run rule.

Dan Lazarou, Ryan Sampere (4) and Scott Paskat. John Stilson, Shane Cole (7) and Jordy Snikeris. WP-Stilson (11-1). LP-Lazarou. HR: TC-Trey Buck, 1st, none on; Joaquin Hinojosa, 2nd, 2 on; Jake Rogers, 2nd, 1 on. GC-Pasket, 7th, none on.