Bulldogs top Refugio; set for Big Sandy

Logan Fisher connects with the ball against Refugio. The Bulldogs beat Refugio in a three-game series last week. They are set for Big Sandy beginning today at 7:30 p.m. at Madisonville High School. 





By Marie Bakken

Champion Sports


The No. 8 Thorndale Bulldogs came from behind in their final at bat of game two on Saturday and then ran away from No. 1 Refugio (26-3) in game three to advance to the regional finals of the Class 2A state baseball playoffs.  The series was held at Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field in Weimar. 

The Bulldogs (25-4), winners of District 27-2A, will now face No. 3 Dallardsville Big Sandy (31-2) for a chance at the UIL state tournament.  Big Sandy, winner of 25-2A, defeated Center in two games to none in their quarterfinals series last week.

The region final best-of-three series will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Madisonville High School.  Game two is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, if necessary, game three will follow.

After falling behind 3-0 to start the third and deciding game of the series, the Bulldogs put up nine unanswered runs to advance to the next round, winning 9-3.  Thorndale out hit Refugio 11 hits to seven.

Down 3-2 in the third inning, Thorndale’s defense pulled off an impressive triple play to thwart a Bobcat scoring opportunity.

The Bulldogs scored three runs in their at bat in the third, with a triple by Mason Fisher pushing across two of them.

In the fourth inning, the Bulldogs extended their lead with four more runs, going up 9-3.  With one out, Ashton Albert doubled to center field, scoring Scott Guzman who had reached base on a single to right.  Albert would steal third and then scored on an error by the Bobcat catcher.

With two outs, Trey Ortiz pushed Logan Fisher across the plate from third on an infield single.   Kellen Hubnik crossed the plate on another error by the Refugio catcher.

The Bobcats managed just three base runners in their final three at bats of the deciding game.

Ashton Albert pitched for one and two-thirds innings, giving up five hits and three runs.  Ryan Biar came in as relief in the top of the second and is credited with the win.  He went five and one-third innings, giving up two hits and struck out two and walked two.

 Game two on Saturday was definitely the most exciting, as the Bulldogs came back in their last at bat to score three runs and win 4-3 in what could have been their elimination game.

With no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Lane Niemtschk doubled to right field, scoring two runs and then a bad throw in the next at bat would allow the winning run to score.

Ryan Biar hit an RBI single in the bottom of the second to get Thorndale on the board and take the lead 1-0.

Refugio tied things up in the top of the fourth when Jaylon Mascorro tripled and then scored on a sacrifice fly. (Mascorro was ejected in the first inning of game three after jumping up from third base after sliding and was said to have pushed a Thorndale player, per the umpire that ejected him).

Jared Kelley’s two-run single in the top of the sixth game the Bobcats a 3-1 lead.

Ortiz started the bottom of the seventh with a single.  Kelley, who was on the mound for the Bobcats, then walked Biar and Coleby Driver to load the bases.  Kelley was then pulled for reaching the UIL mandated pitch count.

In the next at bat, Lane Niemtschk hit a double over the right fielder’s head, scoring Ortiz and Biar and tying the ball game at 3-3.  An errand throw home the allowed Driver’s courtesy runner Hubnik to score and Thorndale take the walk-off win.

The Bobcats out hit Thorndale in that game seven hits to four.

Driver earned the win on the mound for the Bulldogs, pitching the complete game, giving up three runs, seven hits and striking out four.

In the opening game of the series on Thursday, Refugio won 5-1.

Thorndale scored in the top of the first on a Mason Fisher RBI single that scored Albert.  The Bobcats tied things up in the bottom of the first.

Refugio tied it up in the bottom of first and then took the lead in the bottom of the third.  A triple and a single by Bobcat bats pushed across a run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Refugio plated three more runs on a Thorndale error and back-to-back-to-back single.

Logan Fisher was on the mound all six innings for the Bulldogs, striking out three, walking two and giving up eight hits.