Bulldogs sweep Evadale in region quarterfinals

Coleby Driver on the mound for the Dogs.





Champion Sports


It took Thorndale digging deep two days in a row to do it, but the Bulldogs managed to sweep No. 9 Evadale (19-11) in the region quarterfinals round, defeating the Rebels 3-1 in nine innings on Friday night and 3-2 Saturday afternoon.  The series was played at Rice University’s Reckling Park in Houston.

Thorndale (25-4) will now face No. 1 Refugio (25-14) in the Class 2A Region IV semifinals.  The Bobcats were winners of District 31-2A.  The Bulldogs are 27-2A champions.

Thorndale and Refugio will play a best-of-three series starting on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Weimar.  Game two is set for 2 p.m. Saturday in Weimar, with a third game (if necessary) to follow after.

Refugio swept Mason in best-of-three series over the weekend.

The winner of the Thorndale-Refugio series will face the victor between No. 3 Dallardsville Big Sandy and Center Point in the regional finals next week.

Bulldog head coach Kelly Kuhl said their next opponent will be another test against top competition.

“Refugio is next and they are a really good ball club. They have a few guys on the mound that will throw it a little and the top of their order can hit the ball. They are also really fast,” Coach Kuhl said.  “We just need to continue to pitch well and play great defense. Offensively we need to put the ball in play because that’s how good things happen.”

In Saturday’s game, Thorndale found itself down 2-0 in the bottom of the third.  Evadale, runner up of 25-2A, plated a run in the top of the first on back-to-back-to-back hits.

In the top of the third, the Rebels plated their other run on a one-out double to go up 2-0.

In the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs got things going.  Scott Guzman singled to left field and then advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on an Ashton Albert’s fielder’s choice.

Guzman scored on a ground out by Logan Fisher, and with that same hit Albert move to second base, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Thorndale then tied things up when Mason Fisher ripped a double to center field, scoring Albert. 

Mason Fisher then put the Bulldogs in the lead when he scored on a single to right field by Ashton Schaefer, making it a 3-2 ball game.

Evadale threatened in the top of the fourth as two runner reached base with no out, but the Thorndale defense got the next three batters out.

In bottom of fourth, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with one out, but hit into a double play.

In the top of the seventh, Evadale’s Moye doubles to centerfield with one out.  He then advanced to third on a passed ball.  Flower’s bunted to relief pitcher Ryan Biar who threw the ball to catcher Mason Fisher who tagged Moye out at home for the second out of the inning.  Flowers was on first after bunt, then advanced to second on Valencia’s single to right field.

Williams was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases.

Biar then struck out Powell to end the game and advance Thorndale to the next round.

Coleby Driver went five and two-thirds innings on the mound, earning the win with four strike outs, four walks, giving up five hits and two runs.  Ryan Biar is credited with the save, pitching one and one-third innings giving up two hits and striking out two.

Coach Kuhl said his team was never out of the game mentally and kept on fighting.

“We just kept telling the kids to go out there and do what they do because one run wasn’t going to beat us. Continue pitching well and playing good defense and we will find a way to win the game,” Coach Kuhl said.  “Our kids fought every pitch and when they do that they are going to be hard to beat.”

Friday night’s match up was also a tight game, going nine innings for Thorndale to get the win.

Evadale got on the board first after their two of its first three batters got on base, with the leadoff also stealing a base.  The Rebels led 1-0.

Thorndale’s Ortiz was thrown out attempting to steal third in top of second.

The Rebels had runners on second on third with two outs in the bottom of the third, but Thorndale’s defense got the third out before they could score.

The Bulldogs had runners in scoring position with two outs in the top of the fourth, but could not convert any runs.

Thorndale remain aggressive while running bases, trying to score any chance they got.  In the top of the fifth, Mason Fisher drew a walk with two outs, and then went to second on a single by Schaefer.  Ortiz was the next batter and also singled, however Fisher was thrown out at home trying to get on the board.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs tied up the contest at one each.  Albert opened the at bat with a single, went to second on an error by the Evadale pitcher and then scored when Schaefer knocked a single down the third base line.

The eighth inning saw just one base runner and that was a walk drawn by the Rebel’s Valencia.

The top of the ninth gave Thorndale the break it needed.

Guzman opened up the at bat with a walk and then advanced to second base on an Albert walk.  Guzman moved to third on a Mason Fisher’s fielder’s choice single.

That was when Schaefer, who was three-for-five on the night, came to the plate.  Guzman scored on a passed ball in the at-bat and then Mason Fisher scored when Schaefer singled to left field with two outs.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Evadale landed two base runners on with just one out.  A fielder’s choice moved the runners to second and third with two outs.

Biar got the batter to ground out to third to end the threat and game.

Driver was two-for-two and Albert two-for-four in their at bats.  Albert also stole two bases.

Logan Fisher started the game, pitching six and one-third inning.  He gave up six hits and one run, while walking three Evadale batters and striking out five.

Biar came in for the final two and two-third innings and earned the win.  He struck out two, walked one and gave up one hit.