Caldwell staves off late Tiger rally in slim win

Blue has dropped two straight in district play

Senior catcher Austin Caffey went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in against Caldwell Friday night. 
Reporter/Bill Martin Senior catcher Austin Caffey went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in against Caldwell Friday night. Reporter/Bill Martin CALDWELL—Facing the top two teams in the district—and at one time the top two teams in the state—in back-to-back contests, Rockdale was in for the toughest of tests.

After jumping out to an early lead, a subsequent late-inning rally fell short as the Tigers were trimmed by No. 6 Caldwell 7-6 Friday night at Hornet Field.

Having lost two straight District 18-3A contests, Rockdale dips to 13-8 overall and 2-2 in league action.

The back-to-back losses are to the No. 1 team in the state, College Station and the Hornets (14-3, 3-1), who were once ranked No. 2 in the state behind College Station.

District 18-3A took Tuesday off becasue of testing. The Tigers host Madisonville Friday, before travelling to Taylor Tuesday to start the second round of district play.

Trailing 7-4 heading into the sixth, the Tigers manufactured a pair of runs to close the gap.

Clayton Gibbs and Hayden Offield coaxed walks off releiver Tanner Luna, followed by Austin Caffey’s RBI single to score Gibbs.

Preston Ehler, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on a passed ball to make the score 7-6 before Luna got the final two outs of the inning.

Rockdale had leapt out 3-0 in the third inning as Offield singled, Ehler doubled and Caffey drove in Offield with a single.

Nic Vreeland reached on an error as Ehler scored and after a Whitsel bunt single, Joey Montelongo reached on an error and Caffey crossed the plate to provide the Tigers with a 3-0 lead.

The lead was short- lived however, as Caldwell surged ahead with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Turning in his best offensive game of the year, Caffey went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.

Offield, Whitsel and Ehler all collected a pair of hits with each clubbing a double.

Offield (3-4) absorbed the loss in relief of Gibbs, allowing four hits and three walks.

The Tigers actually outhit Caldwell 9-5, but five costly errors nullified the effort.

Luna and winning pitcher Jake Poyna knocked in two runs each for Caldwell.

TIGER TRACKS— Caffey has announced that he will attend Texas State and play baseball for the Bobcats.

The senior all-state catcher had offers from Arizona, Texas A&M International, West Texas A&M, McMurry and several other smaller schools.


Team District Overall
College Station 4-0 18-2
Caldwell 3-1 14-3
Rockdale 2-2 13-8
Taylor 1-3 11-8
Navasota 2-2 11-6
Madisonville 0-4 7-11
Tuesday’s results: Idle.
Saturday’s results; Caldwell
7, Rockdale 6; College Station
8, Taylor 4; College Station 12,
Northland Christian 2; Navasota
7, Madisonville 0.


Hitting (at bats-hits-avg)— Gibbs 29-60 .483; Ehler 28-68 .412; Vreeland 21-65 .323; Whitsel 23-67 .343; Offield 18-58 .310; Caffey 19-60 .317; Waxler 15-63 .238; Drummond 4-21 .190; Gerren 3-13 .231; Montolongo 9-44 .205; McCartney 7-43 .163. Runs—Gibbs 26, Offield 20 Doubles—Ehler 8, Offield 7 Triples—Vreeland 1, Caffey 1 Home runs—Gibbs 3 RBI—Ehler 19, Vreeland 16 Steals—Gibbs 15, Offield 9 Pitching—Waxler 3-0 3.77; Ehler 2-0 2.84; Offield 3-4 5.05; Whitsel 3-1 1.62; McCartney 1-0 3.71; Gibbs 1-2 4.14.

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