Tigers still on line for playof f spot
Luckily, the 7-4 setback to Caldwell doesn’t leave the Tigers dead in the water in the heat of a playoff race.
Rockdale stands 12-9 overall and 6-4 in District 24-3A and in third place with Cameron close behind at 5-4 after upsetting Bryan Rudder 5-4 Tuesday.
“It looks like it’s going to come down to the w ire,” Rockdale Coach Jarad Richards said.
The Tigers have two regular season games left on the schedule, hosting Taylor on Tuesday and then Cameron next Friday.
Rockdale fell to both teams by a single run in extra innings in the first round.
The Tigers have an open date Friday, but will face Godley at Waco ISD Field on Saturday.
Rockdale’s win over Navasota on Friday at Tiger Field and their loss to Taylor Tuesday kept the Rattlers below them in the district standings at 12-9 and 4-5.
At Hor net F ield Tue sd ay, Caldwell won for just the fifth time all season (5-17,) and third time in district play (3-6).
While Rockdale bats fell silent, the Hornets continued to construct a safe cushion with two runs in the bottom of the first, a run in the fourth and four more in the fifth.
In that fifth, Caldwell sent nine men to the plate and while they ripped off three singles, Rockdale lended them a helping hand with four errors in the inning. The Tigers finished with six miscues on the evening.
Rockdale put together a rally with a pair of runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings, but it was all for naught.
Justin Elliott (2-5) took the loss after allowing seven hits, but did not walk a batter.
There is something about Hornet Field that Elliott finds appealing. He hit his second career home run Tuesday night and both have come in Caldwell.
Richards has pleaded with his squad to just make contact with the ball and good things will happen.
His words couldn’t have rung any truer on Friday as the Tigers scored two runs on an error in the bottom of the seventh to steal a 3-2 victory from Navasota and the Rattlers’ outstanding pitcher, Derek Handley.
Handley, a senior righthander who has committed to Texas A&M, mowed Rockdale down all evening, ringing up 13 strikeouts before his defense deserted him with the game on the line.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of Hadley’s 12th and 13th strikeouts, Schnerr on second base after coaxing Hadley’s only walk of the evening and Elliott was on first after a single.
Brandon Gibbs came to the plate and slapped a candy hop ground ball to third base, where Ruben Valdez fielded it cleanly and then bounced the throw past first baseman Trey Hadley, allowing Dillan Schnerr and Elliott to scamper home with the winning runs to a jubilant Tiger team.
The error at third base was reciprocal, Navasota had grabbed the lead in the top of the seventh on a Tiger throwing error.
The victory was Rockdale’s fifth one-run contest in district play and the Tigers are 3-2 in those games.
“We finally got the one ball in play and good things will happen” example,” said Richards. “If Brandon strikes out to end the game with two runners on that would have been disappointing.
“Brandon always has been coachable and he did exactly what was asked of him—put it in play and see what happens.”
The Rattlers wasted a brilliant performance from Hadley who had a no-hitter working for 4 1/3 innings until Casey Burrough slapped a single up the middle to end the bid.
After stealing second, Burrough was thrown out at home during a run down and a spectacular effort to try and reach home plate and tie the game.
Hadley limited the Tigers to just four singles and during the second, third and fourth innings, fanned eight of the 10 batters he faced, including four in a row that were caught looking.
Hadley also helped himself at the plate with two hits and the Rattlers only run batted in.
The Tigers defeated Navasota 6-3 in the first round with Tyler Eppler on the mound.
Chelf was also pretty steady for the Tigers on the mound in improving to 6-1 on the season.
The senior righthander allowed six hits and five walks while sitting down five batters.
Chelf also accounted for Rockdale’s only run batted in with a single in the sixth to score Hector Garcia who had also singled and stole second base and tied the game at 1-1.
“Both pitchers were awesome— Greg pitched well too. Hadley is a tough pitcher and we’ll take the win however we can get it. “
Team District Overall
Taylor 8-2 18-6
Bryan Rudder 7-3 18-5
Rockdale 6-4 12-9
Cameron 5-4 11-11
Navasota 4-5 12-9
Caldwell 3-6 5-17
Madisonville 0-9 1-18
Tuesday’s scores: Caldwell 7,
Rockdale 4; Taylor 11, Navasota 3;
Cameron 5, Bryan Rudder 4.
Friday’s scores: Rockdale 3,
Navasota 2; Taylor 7, Bryan Rudder
6; Cameron 21, Madisonville 5.
TIGER BASEBALL STATISTICS
Hitting (at bats-hits-avg)— Schnerr 28-62 .452; Sanders 20-47 .426; Schneider 15-43 .349; Debault 12-41 .293; Garcia 12-47 .255; Byrd 3-11 .273; Young 6-24 .250; Elliott 10-41 .244; Burrough 7-36 .194; Chelf 9-44 .205; Gibbs 6-46 .130; Betchan 2-19 .105; Davidson 0-6 .000; Pounders 0-3 .000; Evans 0-2 .000; Locklin 0-2 .000; Herrera 0-0 .000. Runs—Sanders 21, Chelf 17. Doubles—Schnerr 5, Sanders 5. Triples—Sanders 3, Schneider 1. Home runs—Schnerr 1, Sanders 1. RBI—Schnerr 24, Sanders 22. Steals—Sanders 10, Elliott 7. Pitching—Chelf 5-1, 3.57; Gibbs 3- 2, 1.57; Pounders 1-0, 0.00; Elliott 2-3, 3.46; Schneider 0-1, 8.53.