Rockdale reels off nine straight wins as district nears
The Rockdale Tigers left five teams in their wake to take the second annual BX3 Tournament and extend their winning streak to nine games after starting off 0-5.
“We are crushing the ball at the plate right now top to bottom,” said Rockdale Coach Clay Cox. “But on top of that our pitchers are throwing strikes and we are making plays behind them. That’s a good combination.”
Austin Caf fey was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while Clayton Gibbs was tabbed as the offensive MVP and Ethan Brinkley, Pearce Loth and Nic Vreeland were also named to the all-tournament team.
Caffey, the junior catcher, was 14-for-16 on the weekend and reached base safely 21 out of 23 times during the tournament.
Vreeland led the team with 11 RBI’s and Clayton Gibbs swiped six bases during the tournament.
“It was a great weekend for our guys, and especially this sophomore class,” Cox said. “Nic Vreeland had a breakout tournament leading us with eleven runs batted in, we got quality relief innings on the mound from Derek Whitsel, great appearances on the mound and at the plate from Pearce Loth and a complete game and quality starts at shortstop from Hayden Offield.”
While the resurgent Tigers are surely hitting the ball well, it may be their improved play out in the field that has fueled the turnaround.
“We had 21 errors in the first five games and have only had eight in the last nine,” Cox said.
In the tournament, Rockdale defeated Ingleside 8-2, San Antonio Incarnate Word 10-7, Rio Hondo 20-1, Orange Grove 16-3 and host Bishop 8-7 in the championship game.
“Right now we are as solid as we have been in my two years here from one thru five,” said Cox. “These guys are seeing the ball well and taking our approach at the plate. We aren’t chasing bad pitches and doing what we need to do to get the job done”
The 20 runs against Rio Hondo marks the second time this season Rockdale has scored that many runs.
“I am extremely proud of this group. After that first week and an 0-5 start it would have been very easy to roll over. Instead they have worked hard to get to where we need to be and refuse to give up.”
Here is a breakdown of who did what in each game:
Rockdale 8 Ingleside 2 WP: Pearce Loth (3 innings - 1 ER) Brinkley (1 inning - struck out side in 7th Austin Caffey 5 for 5 (Triple, 1 R, 4 RBI’s) Brinkley 3 for 5 (3 RBIs)
Rockdale 10 Incarnate Word
Academy 7 WP: Hayden Offield (6 inning, 4 ER, 4 K’s) Clayton Gibbs 2-for-2 (2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SB) Caffey 2-2 (Double, 1 R, 1 RBI) Nic Vreeland 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI)
Rockdale 20 Rio Hondo 1 Caffey 2-3 (4R, 2 RBI, 2B, 3B) Gibbs 2-4 (3 RBI, 2B) Brinkley 3-4 (3 R, 1 RBI, 2B 2) Vreeland 3-4 (2 R, 3 RBI, 2B) Derek Whitsel 2-4 (2 R, 3 RBI, 3B) Patric Trejo 1 for 2 (2 RBI, 2B)
Rockdale 16 Orange Grove 3
(Semi-Final) WP: Brinkley (complete game (7 inngs, 2 ER, 10 Ks) Caffey 2-3 (3R, 2 RBI, 2B) Gibbs 5-6 (3 R, 3 RBI, 2B 2, HR) Loth 2-6 (3 R, 2 RBI) Brinkley 3-4 (1 R, 2 RBI, 3B)
Rockdale 8 Bishop 7
(Championship) *Tie after 5 innings - Tie breaker went to Rockdale to give them
WP: Brinkley (1 inning, 2 Ks)
Loth (4 innings, 4 ER, 7 Ks)
Caffey 3-3 (2R, 2B)
Loth 2-3 (1 R, 2 RBI)
Vreeland 2-3 (3 RBI, 2B)
Offield 2-2 (1 RBI, 1 HBP, SB)
“We got a chance to go down to South Texas and play teams that we never get to see,” said Cox. “It was a great experience for our guys.”
The Tigers open District 18-3A play on Tuesday by travelling to Taylor and face the always dangerous Ducks, led by veteran coach Doug Kuhl.
The Ducks have gotten off to a slow start at 3-2, while Caldwell (11-2) and College Station (13-5) are both ranked in the Texas High School Baseball’s Top 25.
Caldwell is 20th and College Station slips in at No. 24 in its first year of competition and under former Thorndale Coach Scott Holder.