By TONY EIERDAM
GRANBURY – State-ranked No. 3 Bosqueville jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back as the Bulldogs defeated the Santo Wildcats, 14-6, here Saturday afternoon in game two to sweep the Class A, Region II regional quarterfinal series two games to none.
Bosqueville (28-5), which defeated the ‘Cats 12-0 in the opener of the series Friday, advances to the regional semifinals where they will face Trenton.
Santo finishes a successful season at 15-7. Wildcats head coach Brandon Young said the loss did not take away from a great season.
“We worked hard all year, and these kids deserve everything they have earned,” he said. “I am really proud of them. But we seem to hit a wall each year in this round (third) of the playoffs. This is where it has been ending.
“But we have a young team (Santo will only lose starters Christopher Hoover and Zane Mauney to graduation) and we feel we have started a tradition at Santo.
“We feel we will get over the hump eventually.”
Perhaps the most remarkable effort in the game came from Santo senior pitcher Christopher Hoover, who had struck out 87 batters coming into the series. Hoover threw 80-plus pitches in his start Friday night, but on Saturday with his team trailing 10-5 he came on in relief in the fifth inning and struck out the side. He would pitch the final three innings, striking out eight batters.
However, the ‘Cats could only produce one more run and Bosqueville added another four runs in the sixth to put the game away.
“Christopher battled hard,” Young said. “He threw more than 80 pitches Friday night, and (Saturday) he told me he could go three more innings if we needed him.
“I am so proud of him. He was throwing strikes and had good velocity.”
Mauney started on the hill for Santo, allowing only one hit in 2-2/3 innings. He walked five batters, but allowed just two earned runs. Dylan Sweeney came on in relief in the third. He pitched 1-1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits with three walks and three hit batters. Garrett Nemeth pitched one-third of an inning, allowing three runs on two hits with a walk.
Bosqueville took advantage of a pair of walks, a hit batter and an error in the second for a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs added four runs in the third for a 5-0 lead. Bosqueville had just two singles in the frame – including an infield hit – and took advantage of two walks, three hit batters while recording a sacrifice fly.
However, the Wildcats got two of the runs back in the bottom of the third. Grant Gilbert and Mauney each walked to give Santo runners at first and second with no outs. After a strikeout, Hoover slammed a single to center field to drive in Gilbert and Mauney to cut the lead to 5-2.
Bosqueville remained patient at the plate in the top of the fourth inning. In the Bulldogs’ five-run fourth there were four walks and the Bulldogs added an RBI triple and an infield it that drove in a run. Three other runs came courtesy of errors as Bosqueville led 10-2.
The ‘Cats scratched for a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to 10-3.
Sweeney drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs Mauney surprised Bosqueville with a bunt single as Santo had runners on first and third with two outs.
But with too big of a lead on first base, Mauney appeared to have gotten picked off, but he scrambled and got into a run down. He stayed in the rundown until Sweeney scored from third as the ‘Cats cut the Bulldogs’ lead to seven runs.
After Hoover sent the Bulldogs down in order, Santo came back in the bottom of the fifth with two more runs.
Keith Chalker and Hoover began the inning with walks, but Bosqueville recorded an out when Dylan Price reached base on a fielder’s choice.
Hoover would score two batters later on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ty Hunter, and Price scored later on a wild pitch as Santo cut the lead to 10-5.
Bosqueville closed the scoring with four runs in the sixth.
Young said when he looks back at the year he will see a season of success.
“Our guys are just really hard workers, and we have scratched and clawed all season,” he said. “We are young, and I think we will do good things in the future.
“This run in the playoffs will give our kids confidence, and they hung in this series with a very good baseball team.
“If you take away the walks and errors ... we are in the (second) game which means we may have stretched the series to a third game.
“Anything can happen when you don’t make mistakes. Once we look back and learn form that, we can advance deeper.
“I am so proud of our team, our school and our parents.
“This has been a community effort, and I am ready for next year.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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