This past Friday, the San Saba baseball team had throwback night in the "old gray" uniforms and hosted their last district game of the regular season against the Hico Tigers. With district places already determined, we wanted to use this opportunity to get ready for the playoffs and to get a sense of the feel of that kind of atmosphere. Boy, did it ever!
After the State Semi-Finalist Lady Armadillo Basketball Team threw out the first pitches, Ryan Pannell took the mound to start the game. He controlled the situation after a couple of batters got on base by ending the inning with three strikeouts, nothing doing for Hico.
In the bottom of the first, the Dillos drew first blood. After a couple of strike outs, Ryan Pannell worked a walk. The catcher could not handle the wild pitch for ball four, and as he searched around for the ball, Pannell took first and second, putting him in scoring position. Cody Herd then hit a hard single to the outfield to score Pannell. This was the only run the Dillos would get for a while.
Pannell continued to pace through the first four innings. In the fifth, the Tigers finally got on the board. After a strike out, there was a walk and a hit to right field where the catch could not be made, backed up against the fence. Another strikeout, and then a two run homer followed by a strikeout gave Hico three runs in the inning. At this point, Cody Herd would become the pitcher in the sixth and continue for the rest of the game.
Offensively, San Saba went down in order in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings. In the sixth, we had a leadoff double and a hit batter, but could not get anybody across the plate. Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, we began to rally. Tucker Cromer had a hard hit single, and so did Wil Sloan. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third where Miguel Flores hit a one ball, two strike pitch off of the left center field wall, bringing in Cromer. After a ground ball out, Clayton Perry took a walk. Zack Davis hit a fly ball to right field to score the runner from third and tie the game at three. A ground ball to short ended the inning, on to the eighth!
Cody Herd sat down the Tiger batters in order. First was a strikeout. Then a fly ball to left was caught by Tucker Cromer, and a ground ball to third was fielded by Wil Sloan and threw to Ryan Pannell at first to end the inning.
Feeling the momentum, the Armadillos wanted to rally again to try to end the game. The first two batters struck out. But then, Cromer took one for the team off of his elbow to get on base. Sloan hit a pop up to third, but was missed by the fielder that was camped out underneath it. The door was left open. Miguel Flores hit a ground ball to the second baseman, who decided to go for the force out at second. The ball got passed his glove and on into the outfield, which allowed Cromer to easily come home for the walk-off, game-ending run.
Other than waiting for the offense to show up, it was a fun and exciting ballgame. Having to come from behind, having to score two runs to tie in the seventh, and having to create a two-out rally to win the game are all things that will need to happen as the team faces opponents in the playoffs.
San Saba will now face the Merkel Badgers in the Bi-District round of the Texas 2A State Playoffs. There will be one game on THURSDAY night, May 5, at 7:00 at Eastland High School (neutral site). On FRIDAY, there will be TWO games, if needed, starting at 5:00, also in Eastland. You may contact the school for directions and ticket information. We want to thank everyone for their interest and support, and we look forward to seeing you in Eastland as we take on Badgers. GO DILLOS!!