Longhorns get past Cards in extra innings
Published 8:30 pm Friday, April 29, 2016
By Ronnie Hughes
BRIDGE CITY — The twenty-five time district champ Bridge City Cardinals finished off their regular season at home against a scrappy Hamshire-Fannett Longhorn team early Friday.
After appearing to clinch sole possession of the District 24-4A district title Tuesday with a Kyle Bergeron no-hitter against Orangefield the Cardinals had hoped to finish off district play on a high note. Some may call it a meaningless game with the Longhorns already eliminated from post-season play and Cards’ seemingly locked in at number one, but the Horns’ played spoiler upsetting the Cards’, 5-4, and giving the Silsbee Tigers a share of the district title as well.
Bridge City started off with a quick two outs, before Jordan Johnson doubled to put the first runner on the base. Adam Burguson took a first pitch for a double and scored Johnson to end the top of the inning with a Longhorn advantage, 1-0. Johnson hit 3-5 with three runs scored and a stolen base on the evening.
The Cardinals answered the Longhorns call out with Kyle Bergeron leading off with a hard shot between third and shortstop. Kevin Gordon laid down a sac-bunt and was able to outrun the throw to first giving the Cards’ two runners on the bags with no outs. Bergeron scored a few pitches later on an errant throw by Longhorns catcher down to third base.
Gordon took home on the next pitch that took a nose dive in the dirt and was unable to be corralled by the catcher. Cardinals quickly took the lead, 2-1, with no outs still in the bottom of the first. Tod McDowell was at the plate and walked on four straight balls. Austin Fitts capped the inning with an RBI double down the right field line to score McDowell around from second base. Cardinals led, 3-1 heading into the second inning.
Tanner Dorion and the Cardinal defense went right to work in the second. Dorion walked two and struck out two, but a nice snag at shortstop by Bergeron to throw out Hunter Spacek at first and end the inning with two Longhorn batters stranded keep the Cardinals out front.
A Skyler Thibodeaux single would be all the Bridge City bats could muster in the second inning as the aggressive Hamshire-Fannett batters hurried back to the plate hungry for more.
Jordan Johnson led off the inning being hit by a pitch from Dorion and would quickly move around to third base and in scoring position on two Cardinal throwing errors. Burguson replayed his first inning with another RBI that drove home Johnson to pull the Horns’ within one run, 3-2. Jean-Claude Butler ended inning leaving two runners stranded with a bouncer back to the pitcher making for an easy out at first.
The Cardinal bats remained stale into the third inning going three-up-three-down. The Lonhorns tied the game in the top of the fourth inning. Tanner Dubois led off the inning with a monster shot over the left field wall to even the score at three runs each. Johnson ended the side hitting into a double play, but not before leaving the Cardinals searching for answers.
The two squads made it a defensive battle the remaining innings of regulation to keep the score knotted-up at three and calling for extra innings. Tod McDowell stepped on the bump for the Cardinals in the eighth striking out Dubois to end the side. The Cardinals seemed anxious to scratch the winning run across in the bottom of the inning, but left bases loaded after two men walked and Bergeron singled past third base. Dorion went down swinging on a full count pitch to silence the crowd as rain and dark clouds began to move into the area.
Adam Burguson woke up the Longhorn fans in the top of the ninth inning with two runners on and ripped a liner just deep enough to score Jordan Johnson who notched his third run of the evening. Dakota Guidry kept things going for the Horns’ reaching on an infield error and helping scoot another run across the plate for a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
The Horns’ picked up two runs on three hits to put the Cardinals in a hole and just three outs away from upsetting the district champs at home.
Jordan Johnson entered the game for the Longhorns hoping to finish off the Cardinals. Austin Fitts led off the inning with a double to left field that erupted the hometown crowd. However, Johnson erupted on the mound striking out Dubois and Rylee Harris for a quick two outs. Skyler Thibodeaux gave them a bit of light with a an RBI single up the gut to drive home Fitts to cut lead to, 5-4. Bergeron would end the rally hitting into a fielders choice with Thibodeaux thrown out at third base and hand the Cardinals their third district loss and ending a stellar district season with a 9-3 record. Bridge City had 14 runners left on base during the nine inning affair.