Cleburne strikes late against Nelson, advances to regional baseball semifinals

Posted Friday, May. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Cleburne’s victory over Trophy Club Nelson on Friday had Tyler Fowler written all over it.

The sophomore tossed a one-hit gem and added a tie-breaking home run in the decisive seventh inning that sent the Yellow Jackets to a 5-1 victory and into the Class 4A regional semifinals against the winner of the Canyon Randall-Wolfforth Frenship series.

The Jackets had 12 hits and forced Nelson starter Jeff Walburn to scramble most of the night.

In the second inning, Walburn worked himself out of a jam with runners at second and third and no outs. Quade Coward’s fielder’s choice was taken by shortstop Cody Bliss, whose throw home beat Cleburne’s Nolan Reynolds. Walburn then got Dylan Schneider and Daniel Richardson to ground out and pop out, leaving two Jackets stranded to keep Cleburne off the scoreboard.

Walburn couldn’t escape the third inning unscathed. With the bases loaded, Tucker Nolen delivered a two-out RBI base hit. A long throw by right fielder Tyler Frisby caught Jonathan Juarez at home to hold the damage to 1-0.

Cleburne again threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with two outs. But Stevan Martinez’s drive hit teammate Casey Kirkland on the base path, and Nelson survived to remain just one run down.

With Nelson batting in the bottom of the fourth, the game was delayed almost an hour by lightning. Two batters into resumption of play, John Caskey roped a hit to the wall in deep center, scoring Reed Sherman for a 1-1 tie.

Neither team scored in the fifth or sixth innings. Then, Fowler helped his own cause with a line-drive solo home run over the fence in right center to break the deadlock. The Jackets weren’t finished, though. Kirkland stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and laced a bases-clearing double off Caskey, who had come on in relief of Walburn, making the score 5-1 and booking Cleburne’s ticket to the next round of the playoffs.

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