Bears take out Caldwell in quite a trip
By Ronnie Hughes
HUMBLE & FRANKLIN —A soggy Saturday would not dampen the spirit of the Little Cypress – Mauriceville Bears as they geared up for Game Two of the 4A area round versus the Caldwell Hornets in Humble at Summer Creek High School.
A 2p.m. start time gave the two clubs just enough time to work their way through 2 1/3 innings before lightning strikes postponed the game. Due to an onslaught of storms in and around the area the decision was made to send the game two hours north to Franklin as Caldwell had hopes of completing game two or they would see LC-M advance having to revert back to Friday’s game one as the deciding factor. The Bears handed Caldwell their ticket home anyway with a 7-4 win after trailing 3-2 before the delay.
Ryan Martin started on the bump for LC-M and was dealing early on striking out two of his first three Hornet batters in the top of the first inning. LC-M was hot offensively as well with Vinny Hale getting the first hit of the game following a Drake Trawhon fly-out. Mitchell Lee launched a long ball deep off the right field fence for an RBI double to score Hale. Grant White drove Lee home with a hard shot to short stop and was able to outrun the throw to first. Payton Choate grounded out to short to end the inning, but not before the Bears grabbed an early 2-0 lead.
The Bear defense again took care of business in the second inning along with two more Martin strikeouts. Hornet pitcher Chance Norman answered the call as he’d strikeout the side in the bottom of the inning on just eleven pitches. Martin tossed eight strikeouts in the Bear win while Norman notched seven of his own.
Will Faust finally got the Caldwell bats swinging hitting a double to left field with one out and no runners on in the third inning. Ethan Blinka brought Faust home on an RBI double to center field following a Kent Smith walk. LC-M clung to a 2-1 lead with two outs and runners at second and third base. Dennis Engleman took a walk from the noticeably shaken, Martin, to load the bases and bring up senior slugger, Nathan Cunningham. He’d turn on a deuces-wild pitch and hit a hard grounder that squirted into right field scoring both, Blinka and Smith, giving Caldwell a 3-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the inning.
Trawhon led off the bottom of the third with a single into right field, but the momentum was halted due to lightning strikes near by. In what appeared to be nothing more than a 30-minute delay would turn into a seven-hour delay after the weather forecast forced the decision to move the game north to Franklin.
Once play resumed the Bears were unable to get back in their groove and Caldwell quickly came to bat to start the fourth inning. Ethan Ray doubled to left field with just one out giving the Hornets a runner in scoring position. Blinka grabbed his second RBI of the game with another double driving home Ray and extending the Hornet lead to 4-2 after five complete. The Bears were unable to muster much in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Hornets left two runners stranded in scoring position in the top of the sixth as they could not scratch across any security runs which moments later would prove costly. The price to pay was a five run inning to the Bears who quickly swung the momentum in their favor. Grant White and Choate both got on the bags after singles that got past short. Truman Franklin started the rally with a bunt that he was able to outrun the throw to first and score White pulling the Bears within one run. Tyler McCorvy continued the hitting streak with a two-run RBI double that gave the Bears their first lead since the second inning. Peasley scored McCorvy moments later with Vinny Hale capping the big-time inning for the Bears as they grabbed a 7-4 lead and were just three outs away from completing the comeback win.
The Bear defense took care of business keeping the Hornet bats at bay to finalize the game and grab the series sweep as they’d punch their ticket to the regional quarterfinals.
The Bears will play 24-4A rival Silsbee, which defeated Navasota in three games, in the Region III quarterfinals this week.