Tigers en fuego

Tigers smoking hot as they enter playoffs

Having stumbled late in the season and made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, the Rockdale Tigers feel like they have regained some of the sparkle that made them a dangerous team to deal with at the start of the season.

“We feel l i ke we a re back in midseason form, when we won 11 of 12 games,” said first-year coach Clay Cox. “We are seeing the ba ll well at the plate and getting hot at just the right time. If we can carry this momentum into the playoffs we can make some noise.”

After beating up on two playoff teams, Burnet and Groesbeck, in a couple of warm up games, the Tigers play for real as they battle Sealy in the first round of the state baseball playoffs.

The two teams begin their best- of-three game series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at A& M Consolidated.

They get after it again at 7:30 p.m. Friday and if a third game is necessary, it starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Rockdale enters the game at 18-11 and is participating in its first playoff series since 2009 and only the second in the past 13 years.

After dropping five of six at the close of the season, the Tigers have rebounded with a bang and won three in a row by the scores of 12-1 (Caldwell), 14-7 (Burnet) and 18-1 (Groesbeck).

Sealy can put up some numbers as well, scoring 16, 19, 15 and 17 in four district wins. Earlier in the season, they defeated Brookshire-Royal 23-0.

Like Rockdale, Sealy had a swoon in district play, dropping three of four games at one point.

“Overall, I feel that we’re in good shape, but there are some things we continually need to work on,” said Sealy Coach Brett Montier. “With regard to pitching, we need to settle down and stop opponents from having big innings and with regards to hitting, need to jump out early and get runners on base with no outs.”

The Tigers gutted Groesbeck 18-1 Monday night at Rosebud- Lott behind timely hitting and steady pitching.

“Another great outing from our pitching staff,” Cox said. All three (Brinkley, Gibbs, Stewart) combined for no earned runs and seven strikeouts.”

“Groesbeck came out of their district as the second place team,” said Cox. “Coming out of the district we do feel like we have been through the ringer. These guys are battle tested and had to earn everything.”

John Stewart led the doubledigit hitting brigade w ith a 2-for-4 showing at the plate with a home run and three runs batted in.

Ethan Brinkley was 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs batted in while logging the win on

Having stumbled late in the season and made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, the Rockdale Tigers feel like they have regained some of the sparkle that made them a dangerous team to deal with at the start of the season.

“We feel l i ke we a re back in midseason form, when we won 11 of 12 games,” said first-year coach Clay Cox. “We are seeing the ba ll well at the plate and getting hot at just the right time. If we can carry this momentum into the playoffs we can make some noise.”

After beating up on two playoff teams, Burnet and Groesbeck, in a couple of warm up games, the Tigers play for real as they battle Sealy in the first round of the state baseball playoffs.

The two teams begin their best- of-three game series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at A& M Consolidated.

They get after it again at 7:30 p.m. Friday and if a third game is necessary, it starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Rockdale enters the game at 18-11 and is participating in its first playoff series since 2009 and only the second in the past 13 years.

After dropping five of six at the close of the season, the Tigers have rebounded with a bang and won three in a row by the scores of 12-1 (Caldwell), 14-7 (Burnet) and 18-1 (Groesbeck).

Sealy can put up some numbers as well, scoring 16, 19, 15 and 17 in four district wins. Earlier in the season, they defeated Brookshire-Royal 23-0.

Like Rockdale, Sealy had a swoon in district play, dropping three of four games at one point.

“Overall, I feel that we’re in good shape, but there are some things we continually need to work on,” said Sealy Coach Brett Montier. “With regard to pitching, we need to settle down and stop opponents from having big innings and with regards to hitting, need to jump out early and get runners on base with no outs.”

The Tigers gutted Groesbeck 18-1 Monday night at Rosebud- Lott behind timely hitting and steady pitching.

“Another great outing from our pitching staff,” Cox said. All three (Brinkley, Gibbs, Stewart) combined for no earned runs and seven strikeouts.”

“Groesbeck came out of their district as the second place team,” said Cox. “Coming out of the district we do feel like we have been through the ringer. These guys are battle tested and had to earn everything.”

John Stewart led the doubledigit hitting brigade w ith a 2-for-4 showing at the plate with a home run and three runs batted in.

Ethan Brinkley was 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs batted in while logging the win on Brinkley

ROCKDALE VS. SEALY

Who—Rockdale Tigers (17-9) vs. Sealy Tigers (14-8). What—Class 3A, Region III, Bidistrict playoff. When—First game: Thursday 7:30 p.m. Second game: Friday 7:30 p.m. Third game (if needed): Saturday 2 p.m. Where—A&M Consolidated High School. District—Rockdale finished third at 4-6 in 23-3A; Sealy was second to Bellville in District 24-3A. Last playoff appearance— Rockdale 2009; Sealy 2011. Tiger to watch—Sr. P/OF Zach Wills. Tickets—$4 adults, $2 students.

the mound to move to 4-1 on the season. Brinkley leads the Tigers in RBI with 23.

Cody Skubal reached base in all four plate appearances with two runs batted in and three runs scored.

Freshman Pearce Loth was 2- f0r-4 with two runs batted in.

The Tigers began the power surge with a 14-7 victory over Burnet on the road Saturday, hammering out 20 hits in the process.

Twelve of 14 Rockdale batters reached base safely.

“We came out on fire at the plate,” Cox said. “A team (Burnet) who hasn’t given up 10 hits in a game all year, and we put up 20.

“Got some quality at-bats off the bench from our guys later in the game. Nic Baggerly, Hayden Offield and Pearce Loth all came in to reach base safely.”

In his first time in the leadoff spot, freshman Dylan McCartney triggered the Tigers, going 4-for- 6 with a pair of runs batted in, while scoring three times.

“ We talk about making the most of your opportunities and that is exactly what Dylan McCartney did,” Cox said. “We were looking for a new lead off man and gave him the nod in left field.”

Senior Ty Kirk collected three hits in five at-bats with a couple of runs batted in.

Tate Pounders (6-1) grabbed the victory after early struggles in which he allowed five runs in the first inning.

Duke Schneider and Clayton Gibbs saw relief duty.

Cox used six pitchers in both games in preparation for the playoffs.

“Tate struggled a little in the early going, but he settled in to give us three solid innings,” said Cox. “Great relief work by Duke and Clay ton to complete the game. One of the biggest things we try to get out of these warmup games is work for all of our arms. We got a solid outing from all three guys”

The Tigers are chomping at the bit to dive into the playoffs.

“ This group is hungry, Cox said. “They have a lot to prove. Especially these seniors ( Nic Baggerly, Stephen Ehler, Ty Kirk, John Stewart, Zach Garza, Tate Pounders, Cody Skubal and Duke Schneider). All year we have talked about them leaving their mark on this program and they are working hard to do just that.”

ROCKDALE STATISTICS

HITTING—Brinkley 29-70 .414; Ehler 16-46 .348; Kirk 20- 60 .333; Stewart 22- 68 .324; Schneider 12- 38 .316; Skubal 20- 67 .299; Pounders 20 - 67 .299; Gibbs 21-73 .288; Garza 10 - 42 .238; Caffey 14- 64 .219; McCartney 2-10 .200. Runs—Brinkley 28, Gibbs 26 RBI—Brinkley 23, Stewart 22 2B—Kirk 7, Brinkley 6 3B—Gibbs 3, Stewart 3 HR—Skubal 2, Stewart 1 SB—Gibbs 12, Brinkley 11 Pitching—Loth 1- 0, 0.00; Pounders 5-1 3.00; Brinkley 3-1 2.68; Skubal 2-1 5.68; Schneider 2-2 6.65; Stewart 2-2 5.50; Gibbs 1-2 4.50; Offield 0-1 54.00


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The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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