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Titans squeeze by Floresville to keep district lead


April 15, 2011 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated April 14, 2011 at 11:15 p.m.

Floresville's Garrett Pollok, left, chases down Victoria East's Mykael Salazar, as he races back to first base after getting in a rundown during their game on Friday at Riverside Stadium.

Gabe Verduzco knew exactly what to expect when he came to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The bases were loaded with one out and East was trailing Floresville by one run when Verduzco got the squeeze sign from head coach Wes Kolle.

"He told me before the first pitch that I was going to squeeze," Verduzco said. "I just waited for the first strike and laid it down."

Verduzco dropped the bunt in front of the pitcher's mound allowing Troy Hempel to score the tying run. When pitcher Isaiah Guerrero threw wildly to first, pinch runner Ryan Galvan came home with the decisive run in the Titans' 5-4 District 30-4A win over the Tigers on Friday night at Riverside Stadium.

"We tried to battle to the very last out," Verduzco said. "We had some base running errors. We really came through and showed how tough we are and how we battle."

The Titans (16-10, 6-1) trailed from the second inning until their final at-bat, but were able to maintain sole possession of the district lead heading into Tuesday night's rematch with Victoria West.

"We talk about playing 42 outs and keep playing until that final out is made and we needed all of them tonight," Kolle said. "It was ugly and we made a lot of out of character out of body mistakes. We've got to correct those, but regardless at the end of the day, it's a big win."

The Titans made four errors and managed only three hits off of three Floresville (15-10, 4-3) pitchers. They were able to stay close thanks to the scoreless relief pitching of Hunter Perkins.

Perkins relieved starter Matt Longoria with two outs in the fourth and yielded only one hit.

"Hunter Perkins did an outstanding job," Kolle said. "He hasn't been throwing a lot in district. He works hard. He throws his bullpen twice a week and he's ready when he's called upon."

East rallied in the seventh inning despite not hitting a ball out of the infield. They loaded the bases on a pair of hit batsmen and an error on a sacrifice by Troy McIntosh.

McIntosh was called out by the home plate umpire. But the umpire changed his call after consulting with the field umpire, who ruled Guerrero had missed the tag while McIntosh was running to first.

Verduzco came to the plate and Kolle waited only two pitches before putting down the squeeze sign.

"Gabe does a great job," Kolle said. "We work on it every day in practice. He handles the bat real well. At that point, it was kind of all or nothing. We were going to win it or lose it right there."

Verduzco had already sacrificed successfully earlier in the game, and he felt sure he could do it again.

"We practice bunting all the time," Verduzco said. "I felt pretty confident when he told me to bunt."

Floresville 021 100 0 - 4 9 5

Victoria East 011 100 2 - 5 3 4

Drew Clements, Matthew Roe (4), Isaiah Guerrero (6) and Cole Allen. Matt Longoria, Hunter Perkins (4) and Ryan Stuart. W: Perkins. L: Guerrero. Highlights: (F) Micah Clements 2 for 4, 2B, R, RBI; Garrett Pollok 2 for 3. (E) Perkins 3.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 SO; Troy McIntosh 2 for 2, RBI. Records: Floresville 15-10, 4-3; East 16-10, 6-1.



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