Editor’s note: The following is a four day account of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournament by Javelina relief pitcher Tres Tyler:
The only way to describe the first day of baseball at the 2013 south central regional tournament is to describe it as a pitcher’s day to shine. The heat was unforgiving sitting at around 100 degrees for most of the day with a light breeze slowly swirling the hot air.
The day started with a close game between the number 4 and 5 seeded teams, respectively, the San Angelo state Rams and the St. Edward’s Hilltoppers. The Hilltoppers jumped out to an early lead after a two run second. The Toppers came into the sixth with a 3-0 lead on the Rams but left down 4-3 after a huge 4-run inning by the Rams offense. But after a homerun in the 6th inning and some well placed hits in the 7ththe Hilltoppers took the lead 5-4.The Rams had consecutive innings in the 8th and 9th where they had runners on second and third but couldn’t push them across against the good hilltoppers bullpen. In the second game after a fast start the Rattlers of St. Mary’s jumped to a 2-0 lead over the Mavericks of Colorado Mesa University. But after a 4-run burst in the forth the Mavericks never looked back also scoring in the 6th and 8th.
The Mavericks started looked almost unhittable after the first inning giving up the two spot to the Rattlers. In the end the Mavericks pulled out an impressive 6-2 win. In the final game of the night the number one seeded Javalinas went toe-to-toe with the sixth seeded CSU-Pueblo Thunder Wolves. As stated earlier, pitching was the theme of the day and the final game of the day didn’t disappoint. Dallas Ponder came out for us a bit rusty after having a week off but he picked it up as best he could. He came out and gave a 6 inning 3-run performance that we needed to help start us out on the right track for the weekend. James Black lead us with an impressive 3for 4 performance that elevated us over the thunder wolves.
In the early game on Friday we saw that the tables had turned from the day before. At the noon game St. Mary’s was set to play CSU-Pueblo the match up didn’t really reflect the gravity of what was going to happen over the next three and a half hours as St. Mary’s offense showed Nolan Ryan field and the fans in the stands a 23 run 30 hit performance to kick off day 2 of the south central regional tournament.
In the second game of the day we faced the Rams of Angelo State for the seventh time this season. Going into the game, we felt as though we had the upper hand on them having beaten them over half the times we’ve faced them. But after quick hits from both teams I looked up and it was the middle of the fifth and it had been very uneventful. But once Angelo came to bat that’s when the trouble started they picked up three runs in that inning off of two triples and a double the score was 4-1. The next few innings flew by until the 8th where the Rams picked up 3 more to make the final 9-1. In the four o’clock game the Colorado Mesa Mavericks faced the Hilltoppers of St. Edwards. The two teams seemed very evenly matched until the 3rd inning when a throwing error allowed the hilltoppers to take an early 1-0 lead. Then in the 4th the Hilltoppers struck again with an RBI triple from their second baseman Pirozzolo. But in the bottom half of the inning the Mavericks started their comeback with a solo homeruns followed a few batters later with a three run homerun giving them a 5-2 advantage.
The next scoring was done in the 7th inning when St. Ed’s tacked on one after a HBP and good execution by their hitters to score the runner from second. Then in the top of the 9th St. Eds tacked on two more after a risky double steal to move the runners to third and second and then a single down the first base line to bring them home tying the game at 5 all. Then in the top of the 11th after yet another hit by pitch the Hilltoppers came up with a clutch double in the right center gap to bring home the eventual tying run.
After losing the night before we were forced into a day on Saturday where we had to
win two games to make it to championship Sunday. Starting the day at 11 a.m. we faced the number two seeded Colorado Mesa Mavericks, both teams came out looking good on the defensive end of the baseball but it didn’t take long for us to break the ice.
In the second after two singles an RBI double by Laird brought home the first two runs of the game then following it up in the forth with one more with a sac fly from Guidry making the score 3-0. On the other side of the ball we stayed strong a performance to be remembered from Zack Pettiford who went nine strong not allowing a run and throwing just 99 pitches to make it through. The final was 3-0. In the second game of the day the St. Mary’s would be involved in another close contest this time with San Angelo state across the field from them. It would start off with a bang as Al Gonzales put St. Mary’s on top 1-0 in the 1st with a homerun. Then in the 5th after some untimely errors the Rams would break through after a fielding error allowing a man on third to score. Then again in the 6th the errors would ensue as a bases loaded wild pitch would allow the Rams to scratch another one in their favor. Then a single after that would allow the other two Ram base runners to come across. Then in the 8th inning the Rattlers would begin their own push with a single plating their first run then later in the inning another single with the bases loaded would allow them to push teo more across making the score 4 all.
It stayed 4 all until the top of the 11th when Angelo catcher Andrew LaCombe would double to left center, the next batter did the same doubling to left center giving the Rams the 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th with two outs and two strikes Ivan Sigala hit a two run homerun to tie it up for the Rattlers. Later in the 13th inning of the game the Rattlers had an early single and intentional walk to give them two base runners. Then with a single up the right side of the infield the winning run came across for the rattlers ending the Rams season and giving the Rattles a bid to championship Sunday. In the late game we faced the undefeated Hilltoppers of St. Ed’s.
In the first both teams seemed to test the water with the other teams pitcher. But in the second inning we struck first with another sac fly from Guedry we sat ahead 1-0 after 1 and a half. Then in top of the second we scored again with an RBI single from Black and then another two RBIs for Guedry.
Next in the 5th and 6th we tacked on one in each bringing the score to 6-0. Matt Rhoads started on the mound and looked strong throughout the game having good command of all his pitches and using them well. He didn’t give up a run until the 8th inning but by this point the score was already 6-1. He would finish the game giving us our second complete game of the day from our starting pitcher.
The day started off at 1 p.m. between the St. Mary’s Rattlers and the St. Ed’s Hilltoppers.
It started off with some pitching troubles for the Rattlers as in the second inning they walked the bases loaded then issued a free pass to the next man walking in a run giving the Hilltoppers an early 1-0 lead. Then in the bottom of the same inning the hero from the day before Ivan Sigala would come through again for the Rattlers with a sac fly scoring Billy Richards tying the game at one all. Then in the 4th St. Mary’s errors would come back to bite them as they allowed a St. Ed’s player to cross the plate on a throwing error giving St. Ed’s a 2-1 lead that they would hold to allow them to move to the Championship game against us.
In the Championship game the St. Ed’s Hilltoppers were facing us and it was
ace against ace. Ponder was roughed up early giving up a three spot in the first after a leadoff homerun a double and a hit by pitch. Ponder was eventually replaced after only 1.1 innings and 4 runs by Cody Williams who was also roughed up a bit by the St Ed’s line-up giving up two homeruns. In the 5th we broke through with our first run of the game after three straight singles loading the bases Guedry picked up and RBI which would be our only run of the game.
Finishing out the game for us after Williams was Jeremy Flores making his last appearance as a Javelina. He would finish the last 2 innings only giving up one run making the final score 7-1 Hilltoppers. They will move onto the College World Series in Cary North Carolina.