Tigers bust out unbeaten in early district action
In a season in which they were expected to str uggle as they replaced six productive seniors, the Tigers have pounced out of the district cage with a 3-0 mark after nipping Navasota 6-3 Tuesday night on the road.
Rockdale was coming off a 4-3 victory over Bryan Rudder and are now 8-5 on the season.
The Tigers used timely runs batted in from J.B. Debault and Brandon Gibbs to secure the win Tuesday night as they busted open a 1-1 affair with three runs in their half of the fourth and chipped in single runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
Greg Chelf collected his fourth win of the season against one loss after lasting 6 1/3 innings and allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six batters.
The Rattlers were led by last season’s district most valuable player Kye Hildreth who was 2-for-4.
Rockdale also took advantage of two Navasota errors.
Clutch hitting from Schnerr and a brilliant pitching performance from Justin Elliott helped the Tigers cool off a red hot Bryan Rudder squad 4-3 Friday night at Tiger Field.
“Clutch hitting by Schnerr,” said Rockdale Coach Jarad Richards. “I told the guys we needed to score first and score early to get the momentum. We did that in the first inning. And Justin took it from there.
Rudder entered the contest with a 11-1 record and were scoring runs and banging out hits at a double-digit pace.
The Rangers’ only loss coming in was to Class 5A Harker Heights and they opened district action with a 14-4 win over Caldwell.
Rudder also features a deep pitching staff, but it was Rockdale’s Elliott who stood out on Friday.
Throwing 116 pitches, the senior righthander limited the Rangers to six hits, while striking out five to run his record to 2-2.
After allowing two runs in the sixth that trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 4-3, Elliott retired five of the next seven batters to secure the win.
After an error by second baseman Reid Davidson and walk put two runners on base in the top of the seventh, Elliott coaxed three straight Rudder batters into flying out to end the game.
Elliott kept the Rangers’ most dangerous hitter, Will Johnson (5 HR, 17 RBI) off the basepaths on an 0-for-4 night.
Schnerr, who has been hovering around .600 all season, opened the scoring by clubbing a two-run double to centerfield in the bottom of the first to push Rockdale quickly out in front.
Greg Chelf and J.B. Debault had reached on singles before Schnerr stepped to the plate.
The Tigers added on two more runs in the fifth when Chelf walked and Debault singled again. Chelf made his way around the bases and scored on a wild pitch, while Debault scored on Elliott’s fielder’s choice for a 4-1 lead.
Debault led Rockdale w ith a pair of singles and two runs scored.
“The biggest difference was that Justin and Joe were able to control their running game along with the infielders working the bags too. We’ve emphasized that here lately because we haven’t been doing a good job stopping the running game from opponents. “It paid off for us because in one run game every free bag is huge. We are excited to be off to a 2-0 start but we also know that we need to be 4-0 at the end of spring break so we aren’t going to relax—hopefully.”
The Tigers host Caldwell (2-4, 0-3) on Friday.
Team District Overall
Rockdale 3-0 8-5
Cameron 1-0 4-3
Taylor 1-1 10-5
Bryan Rudder 1-1 12-2
Navasota 0-1 8-3
Madisonville 0-2 1-10
Caldwell 0-2 2-3
Tuesday’s scores—Rockdale 6,
Friday’s scores—Rockdale 4, Rudder
3; Taylor 18, Killeen Shoemaker
0; Taylor 10, Madisonville 0.
TIGER BASEBALL STATISTICS
Hitting (at bats-hits-avg)—
Schnerr 23-42 .547; Byrd 2-4 .500;
Sanders 11-26 .423; Schneider
8-22 .363; Garcia 10-29 .344;
Debault 6-18 .333; Chelf 4-24
.166; Young 3-15 .200; Burrough 2-
16 .125; Elliott 4-28 .142; Betchan
2-11 .181; Gibbs 2-28 .071; Davidson
0-6 .000; Pounders 0-3 .000;
Evans 0-2 .000; Locklin 0-2 .000;
Herrera 0-0 .000.
Runs—Sanders 15, Schnerr 8.
Doubles—Schneider 3, Schnerr 3.
Triples—Sanders 3, Schneider 1.
Home runs—Schnerr 1, Sanders 1.
RBI—Schnerr 17, Sanders 15.
Steals—Sanders 3, Burrough 2.
Pitching—Chelf 4-1, 3.10; Pounders
1-0, 0.00; Elliott 2-2, 8.08;
Schneider 0-1, 9.13.