Huffman ends great LC-M baseball campaign with Game Three win

Published 10:25 pm Saturday, May 12, 2018

By Caleb Adams

Leader Correspondent


CROSBY – After rallying for a dramatic 4-3 victory in Game Two, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears saw their terrific season come to an end in Game Three Saturday at Crosby High School as the Huffman Falcons moved on to the Class 4A Region III quarterfinals with a 7-1 win.

The Bears (31-7) trailed Game Two 3-1 in the top of the seventh but fought back to take it with a three-run surge.

Game Three was tough sailing as the Falcons (19-9-1) controlled the game almost the whole way.

Huffman limited the Bears to just five hits as the LC-M offense struggled to push across runs as they left 13 runners stranded.

Falcon reliever Noah Zamora nailed down the win as he scattered the five hits while striking out three and walking one.

The Bears utilized three pitchers in the tough loss.

The Falcons struck in the top of the first inning off Bear starter Slade Green

Luke Bailey drew a leadoff walk. Grant O’Neil singled but Bailey was thrown out at second. With two outs, O’Neil swiped second and would score on a Mason Strollberg single up the middle.

The Bears chased Huffman starter Joseph Rankin in the bottom of the second.

With one out, Chris Bilbo got hit by a Rankin pitch and with two outs Rankin beaned John Beeson with a pitch. He then walked Max Dileo to load the bases and the Bears scored a run when Jordan Alexander drew a bases-loaded walk to collect a RBI.

Rankin lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing no hits while fanning one, walking two and hitting two batters. After that, Noah Zamora took the hill for the Falcons.

Huffman snagged five runs in the top of the third to snare a 6-1 edge.

Bailey was hit by a pitch and O’Neil singled to left and a wild pitch moved the runners over in scoring position.

Green left at that moment as he went two innings, allowing four hits while striking out two and walking one. Thayne Toomey replaced Green on the hill.

With one out, the Bears intentionally walked Strollberg.

Will Johnson hit into a fielder’s choice as Bailey scored and Strollberg was out at second. After Cam McMahon was hit by a pitch Matthew Dorcz drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-1. Then officials called a balk on Toomey as the Falcons upped their lead to 4-1.

Blake Boss made it 6-1 with a deep two-run double.

The Falcons were able to up the margin to 7-1 in the top of the sixth. Huffman was able to load up the bases and Dorcz ending up picking up a RBI when he drew a bases-loaded walk from Bear pitcher Reagan Burdette.

Anthony Bandiero had a one-out single to left in the third for the Bears. Jordan Alexander ripped a one-out single to right in the fourth. Truman Franklin had a single to right in the fifth. The Bears picked up a pair of hits in the bottom of the seventh as Franklin had a leadoff single to center and Taylor Gilbert had a single to right with two outs.

The Bears’ Game Two win was a thriller.

With noise makers in hand the crowd was loud from the get go, and it immediately felt like playoff baseball. The atmosphere was electric from the first pitch to the last, being a closely fought game.

Ben Leisure got the start for the Falcons in this game, and pitched well all the way through to the seventh inning. With five walks, two strikeouts, one run given up and just two hits allowed. Leisure was able to use the groundball and popups to his advantage all game, using this as his main way to get outs. Where the Bears found their runs was in the seventh inning, when Leisure was relieved by J.J. Galiendo, who gave up the three runs the Bears needed to win.

Franklin went the distance for the Bears, starting and ending the game to get the win. Truman had four walks, allowed five hits, three strikeouts and three runs given up. Franklin had a few rocky innings, but for the most part, was able to reign everything in and shut down a lot of the scoring attempts for the Falcons.

The biggest problem the Bears faced all game long was being able to hit runners in on a consistent bases. Between walks and the few hits they had, the Bears just flat out missed too many but Franklin was able to contain what the Falcons hit at him.

Micheal Lee was the initial spark for the Bears, knocking in the first run of the game. Lee doubled down the line to knock in Jordan Alexander from first base. That would be all they grabbed, but the Bears took an important 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

Huffman hit back strong with a two-run double from Mason Strollberg down the right field line. The drive knocked in O’Neil and Leisure from second and first base. With their first two hits the Falcons took the lead 2-1 after three innings complete.

The Falcons struck again, adding insurance to their lead in the fourth inning. Jacob Hortch knocked in Matthew Dorcz from first base to extend the lead to two. That’s all they would get in the inning, but it has made the job for the Bears to mount a comeback a little more difficult. As the Falcons led 3-1 after the fourth..

The Bears get the bases loaded in the top of the seventh and threatened the lead. With two walks and a bunt the bases were loaded, Lee drew a walk to bring in a run, to trim it to 3-2. Franklin knocked in the next run with an infield hit, with Alexander scoring the tying run. On the next at bat Reid Saperstein swiped into home on a bobbled catch at home to help seal the victory.