The Aledo baseball team’s regular season ended last month with a thud, getting shut out by Fort Worth Trimble Tech and slipping to third in the District 7-4A standings. Before the first playoff game, the Bearcats came to an understanding.
“Mentally, we started focusing a lot more,” pitcher Chris Reed said. “We lost that last regular season game, and we didn’t want to feel that way again.”
Aledo continued its UIL playoff run on Thursday, this time advancing further than any team in school history after beating Hallsville 9-1 in the Class 4A semifinals at Dell Diamond.
The Bearcats (33-6-2) meet Victoria East (30-9) for the championship on Friday at 7 p.m. Hallsville ends at 34-5.
On Thursday, Reed (11-2) went the distance, allowing six hits and striking out seven after falling behind 1-0 in the first. Five of those strikeouts were in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dakota Durant doubled to score two runs and give Aledo a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Then, in the fourth, Tyson Mauser singled to score another, just as Reed was settling in.
The senior right-hander avoided a run in the second inning despite a leadoff double. Colton Oberthier’s bunt was fielded by catcher Zayne Willems, who threw to third to retire the lead runner. The next pitch resulted in a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
“Chris [Reed] was very sharp tonight, a lot sharper than he was last weekend,” Aledo coach Chad Barry said. “Once we got a lead, he settled down and started to relax.”
Aledo broke the game open in the fifth. Reich (11-2), Hallsville’s ace and a TCU signee, hit three batters and walked two more, and got pulled after forcing home Wade Raburn and Durant to put Aledo up 5-1.
Zane Scott followed with an infield single to score another for the Bearcats, making it 6-1.
Senior right-hander Taco Anderson (8-2) is expected to start for Aledo on Friday.
George Ranch’s lone run, in the fifth inning, was unearned.
Jonathan Ortega, Tim Gleinser, Mason Tipton and Adrian Gonzalez each collected two hits for East. Tipton homered in the seventh. The Titans tagged George Ranch starter Grant Page (8-3) for 11 hits.
Page kept it close, though, holding East to one earned run over the final six innings. But Craft was steady.
George Ranch’s best chance at pressuring East came in the fifth. After the run-scoring error, Alex Shaver tripled to left field, just under the glove of a diving Bryce Martinez. Craft retired the next batter end the inning.
Both squads were making their first appearance at state.
Sunnyvale catcher Wesley Phillips went 3 for 4 with a walk and RBI, while teammate Seth Metzger belted a three-run homer in the decisive third inning when the Raiders scored seven runs.