ABILENE — It was all square Thursday night to start Game 1 of the Class 4A Region I finals between Aledo and Lubbock Monterey at Hardin-Simmons University.Then, Tyson Mauser stepped into the batter’s box, saw the first pitch of the game and drove it over the wall in left-center field for a leadoff home run. Just like that, Aledo had a lead.Mauser’s shot was the first score of a four-run inning that put the Bearcats up for good on their way to a 6-2 victory over Monterey.Aledo (31-6) goes for the sweep at 7 p.m. Friday at Hardin-Simmons. If necessary, Game 3 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Hardin-Simmons.Thursday’s victory was highlighted not only by Aledo’s early offensive production, but also a solid outing by starter Chris Reed, who ran into early trouble, but steadied himself with five innings of five-hit ball to earn the victory. Right-hander Taco Anderson is expected to start Friday for Aledo.Reed gave up two runs on four hits in the first inning. Monterey (32-10) loaded the bases in the second after Reed walked three batters. But he came back to strike out Travon Benton looking on a full count pitch to end the inning. Reed allowed two runners in the third, pushing his pitch count to 80. But he came back in the fourth and fifth and needed only 17 pitches to record the final six outs of his night. Left-hander Shane Mosiello started the sixth for Aledo and struck out the side, then struck out three more in the seventh to seal the victory.Dakota Durant led Aledo with three hits and two runs scored. The Bearcats had 11 hits against Monterey starter Blake Walden, who gave up all six runs and struck out four.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST