Dawg gone it

Thorndale puts up a fight but still can’t advance to championship game

Thorndale’s Tyler Miller (top), Weston Fisher (bottom) and Justin Hilton (right) wait for their bronze medals after the Bulldogs’ 5-4 loss to Evadale in the semifinals of the UIL state tournament. Reporter/Bill Martin Thorndale’s Tyler Miller (top), Weston Fisher (bottom) and Justin Hilton (right) wait for their bronze medals after the Bulldogs’ 5-4 loss to Evadale in the semifinals of the UIL state tournament. Reporter/Bill Martin ROUND ROCK—While it’s true that Thorndale played significantly better than it has in it’s last three appearances at the state tournament, this is no place for moral victories or near misses.

“Losing is losing,” said Bulldog Coach Kelly Kuhl. “None of it’s fun. We expect to win.”

The Bulldogs surrendered two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and subsequently the lead in a 5-4 loss in the Class A semifi- nals of the UIL state tournament in front of 1,315 fans at Dell Diamond on a muggy Wednesday afternoon.

Evadale was r un-r uled by Windthorst 11-1 in the championship game Thursday afternoon. Windthorst—who knocked Thorndale out of the state tournament in 2009—secured its first title in seven trips and outscored its opponents 26-3 in two state tournament games.

Thorndale catcher Tyler Jordan (left) watches as Evadale mobs Hayden Dubose at home plate after he cracked a solo home run to put the Rebels up 2-1 in the fourth inning. Reporter/Bill Martin Thorndale catcher Tyler Jordan (left) watches as Evadale mobs Hayden Dubose at home plate after he cracked a solo home run to put the Rebels up 2-1 in the fourth inning. Reporter/Bill Martin The semi-final game was delayed by 2 hours and 40 minutes because of rain and when play finally got underway, Dell Diamond transformed into a sauna when the sun finally popped out from behind the clouds.

It was Thorndale’s fifth trip to the state tournament in the past six years and seventh overall.

The Bulldogs (24-12) have not won a tournament game since winning a state crown in 2005. Since then they are 0-4.

Contrary to two of their last three tournament losses when they were run-ruled, the Bulldogs never bowed.

“Our kids were fighting,” Kuhl said. “There was no quit in them. They never gave up.”

Bulldog Coach Scott Frei provides Calvin Tomancak with some hitting strategy before an at-bat. Bulldog Coach Scott Frei provides Calvin Tomancak with some hitting strategy before an at-bat. Like a championship boxing match, both teams matched each other punch-for-punch.

After Thorndale crossed the plate in the very first frame, Evadale (30-6) tied it in the second.

When Evadale went ahead 2-1 in the fourth, Thorndale tied it again in the fifth, only to have Evadale push ahead again in the bottom of the inning.

When it looked like Thorndale was going to break the semifinal curse on them and went up 4-3 in the sixth, Evadale produced two runs of their own and stole the victory.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” said Kuhl. “Everytime we scored—they scored. That’s the sign of a good team.”

Both pitchers went the distance as loser Paxton Jordan (9-3) allowed 11 hits and struck out five on 87 pitches with a perfect defensive performance behind him.

Winner Hayden Dubose had to overcome some sloppy defensive play from teammates and had to take matters into his own hands at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three runs batted in including a solo home run in the fourth to put Evadale up 2-1.

“At first, I didn’t think it was going to go out,” Dubose said. “I saw the ball real well today. It looked like a beach ball. You don’t get an opportunity for something like that in this situation very often.”

Dubose, the righthander who won his 10th game of the year without a loss, scattered six hits, fanned just two batters and did not allow a walk. Only two of the Bulldogs’ runs were earned.

The Bulldogs actually threatened in the top of the seventh, when Paxton Jordan reached on what could possibly be the shortest double in baseball history.

Jordan sent a high fly straight up over the pitchers mound and with all four Evadale infielders and pitcher Dubose circling under it, the ball plopped down behind the mound and with no one covering the bases, Jordan scampered to second as the tying run.

However, Dubose got Tyler Jordan and Calvin Tomancak to ground out to end the game and send the Rebels into the championship game and the Bulldogs into another frustrating loss.

“This is going to be tough to take,” said the senior Maupin. “We had several chances to win and didn’t step up.”

Thorndale gave notice things were going to be different than in the past as leadoff hitter Josh Ware ripped a triple down the left field line and then scored on Tyler Jordan’s sacrifice fly to right field for a 1-0 lead after the top of the first inning.

Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, the Bulldogs fought back as Tomancak and Weston Fisher opened the inning with singles and Tomancak scored on Evadale third baseman Chase Franklin’s second error of the game and then Fisher scored on Isaac Leyendecker’s long fly to centerfield for a 4-3 lead.

However, Evadale touched Jordan for four hits in the bottom of the sixth to surge back in front 5-4.

“This team had a lot of pressure on it to get back here this year,” Kuhl said. “They handled it well. It’s an accomplishment just to get here.”

The Bulldogs lose four seniors in Tyler Jordan, Caleb Saunders, Shea Maupin and Weston Fisher.

“Those guys did a great job of setting the tone this year that allowed us to get this far,” Kuhl said. “They’re going to be missed.”

DAWG BITES— Josh Ware, who went 1-for-4 with his game opening triple, was named to the all state tournament team... Shea Maupin played in the Central Texas All-Star game on Monday at Dell Diamond... An Austin television station had set up an interview with the Bulldogs, but never showed up. Despite the fact the entire team had gathered and were kept waiting.

Evadale 5, Thorndale 4 Thorndale 100 012 0—4 6 0 Evadale 010 112 X—5 11 3

Jordan and Jordan; Nichols and Dubose. W-Dubose (10-0). L-Jordan (9-3). 2B-Jordan, P. (T), Potts, Tucker (E). 3B-Ware (T). HR-Dubose (3) (E). E-Potts, Franklin 2 (E). HBP-by Dubose (Maupin). A-1,315. Time-1:55. Records—Thorndale 24- 13, Evadale 30-5.


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