Rusk ends tremendous Orangefield season in a nailbiter
By Caleb Adams
HUNTSVILLE – The Orangefield Bobcats saw a tremendous season come to an end Thursday night as they fell to the Rusk Eagles 3-2 in the Class 4A Region III Semifinals at Don Sanders Stadium at Sam Houston Staate University.
Bryce Bergeron got the start on the mound for the District 22-4A champion Bobcats (23-8-2). He had a good first couple of innings, getting out of a couple situations, but the Eagles would get all of their runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bergeron would last four and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits, two walks and three runs while striking out three batters. He finished up his amazing senior campaign with an 11-2 record. He would leave the game down 3-0 to the Eagles (26-7) in the bottom of the fourth.
Trent Eaves came in and did a solid job finishing out the game on the hill for the Bobcats.
JD Thompson started and finished the game for the Eagles on the mound. He went all seven innings, allowing three hits, with six strikeouts, two runs scored and three walks issued on the night. Thompson had a lot of quick innings, only letting two frames have more than three batters come to the plate for the Bobcats. The Bobcats put a bat on the ball, but it was a lot of grounders and popups. Thompson was able to work through the Bobcats well until the seventh inning, but was able to stem the bleeding to secure the win for the Eagles.
Offensively the Bobcats had trouble, but a couple players stood out during the game. Logan Gipson would go 0-2 at the plate, but would drive in the only RBI for the Bobcats in the seventh inning. Kolbie Sowell also had a good game, going 1-2 with a single, a walk and run scored. Sowell would be the first Bobcat run and hit, he had a hot bat all playoffs and didn’t stop this game.
The Eagles got the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Thompson started things off with a walk and moved to second base after a balk from Bergeron. Brett Rawlinson hit a hard double to left field, advancing Thompson to third base. Another balk would be called, sending Thompson home for the score and Rawlinson over to third base with one away. Maso Cirkal walked to bring up Lane Gilcrest, who laced an infield grounder, allowing Rawlinson to score from third base. Will Dixon followed right up with a single through the infield to score Cirkal. The Bobcats would finally get out of the long inning, but the Eagles took a crucial 3-0 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning.
The Bobcats would come to the plate at the top of the seventh with their season on the line, needing at least three runs to keep their great season and hopes alive.
Sowell would start with a walk, and would be pinch ran for by Bradin Babin. Babin got all the way to third thanks to two wild pitches. Gunner Jones reached on a dropped third strike, bringing up Logan Gipson. Gipson hit an infield grounder to score Babin from third base. Jason Bodin took a pitch to the body and got a free bag. Bodin then swiped second, and on the steal a bad throw would go to centerfield sending Jones home. Unfortunately, the Bobcats wouldn’t find any more and fall 3-2 to the Eagles.
A thrilling rollercoaster of a game from both teams. The Bobcats fought hard to the final out and made the Eagles earn that win. A great season comes to an end for the Bobcats, and a great season for the out going seniors. This Bobcat team showed how great they were all year and didn’t let up in the end.
The Eagles, District 17-4A champions, will now move on to face either Bellville or Lufkin Hudson in the Regional Finals next week.