by Wayland D. Clark
Scoring a run in five of the seven innings – with the most important in the top of the seventh – was the key to Dripping Springs’ victory.
The Tigers beat the Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial Eagles in a best of three game Regional Semifinal at North East Stadium in San Antonio Saturday afternoon.
Pitcher Mitchell Bockelman homered in the top of the fifth for a 3-2 lead and the Tigers added another run in the sixth, but the 4-2 lead didn’t last long.
Cody Evans came in to pitch in relief of Bockelman who pitched 4.1 innings. The Tigers’ outstanding defense ended an Eagles threat in the bottom of the fifth with a double play. But the Eagles hit a two run homer off of Evans in the bottom of the sixth inning tying the game 4-4.
“It doesn’t matter,” Evans said after the 5-4 win and shutting down the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh inning, “the next pitch is all that matters.” Brandon Arvidson reached base on a walk and Nico Ruedas singled, scoring the winning run for the Tigers. In the series, Dripping Springs was 4 for 6 in steals on the base pads but the two put outs were critical. “It’s athletic amnesia,” head coach Chris Payne said about the mistakes, “you forget about it, turn the page and go.”
Ruedas pitched a complete game with two extra innings in a 3-2 win for Dripping Springs in the opening game of the best of three series with the Eagles on Thursday. Ruedas faced 34 batters in the nine innings, giving up four hits and striking out five. Max Miles led the Tigers offense with a pair of RBIs on three hits.
A two run home run in the top of the first inning on Saturday afternoon and a brilliant pitching performance by Brandon Arvidson was not enough to keep the Eagles from forcing the third and final game. The Eagles scored three in the bottom of the second inning and added a run in the fifth for the 4-2 win. Veterans Memorial pitcher Jose Acuna gave up three hits, walked two and had 14 strikeouts in the win.
The Tigers will face Rouse in the 5A Regional Finals with all games at Concordia University. Thursday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. (DS home team), Friday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m. (DS visitor) and Saturday, June 5 at 2:00 (if needed, flip coin for home / visitor)