Brahmas dig deep, but fall short
AUSTIN - The word quit did not appear in the Hallettsville Brahmas' vocabulary.
The Brahmas wouldn't have come from a third-place finish in their district to a win away from their first state tournament appearance since 1998 without such an attitude.
"This team we never seemed to give up," said junior Reagan McAda. "We always seemed to find a way. We just battled our butts off the whole year every game."
McAda's three-run home run helped Hallettsville erase a two-run deficit before he tripled and scored the winning run in Game 2. His RBI single completed a game-tying four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 3.
Unfortunately for the Brahmas, their magic ran out in the top of the eighth and Jarrell came away with the win it needed to earn a spot in the state tournament.
After opening the best-of-three Class 2A regional final series with a gut-wrenching 5-4 nine-inning loss in Game 1 on Thursday night, Hallettsville (29-10) claimed a 4-3 win in Game 2 on a walk-off RBI single by Josh Mettlach.
But after Hallettsville erased a 5-1 deficit in the seventh inning of Game 3, the Cougars (25-4) scored a run and held off the Brahmas' final rally on Saturday at Tornado Field.
"That's a heck of a ballclub we just played for three games," said Jarrell coach Dean Fitzner. "That group over there could have easily laid down. They didn't and scratched for four runs. We scratched back. I mean every game was like that."
McAda did everything he could to help Hallettsville head to Dell Diamond in Round Rock for Wednesday's semifinal.
He was 3 for 3 in Game 2, including his three-run blast that cleared the left-field fence and a triple to right-center field to set up Mettlach's game winner.
McAda's only hit in Game 3 scored pinch runner Tait Schindler from second with the tying run after Will Wallace had brought the Brahmas to within a run with a three-run double.
"It just felt great," McAda said. "We knew we couldn't let up. We just had to come back out here, but they had some timely hits."
The Brahmas became the first team in the playoffs to take Jarrell to a third game and the edge seemed to be in Hallettsville's favor because of its dramatic win in Game 2 and its pitching depth.
But Jarrell starter Tyler Krupp, who came into the game with an 0-2 record, limited the Brahmas to one run through six innings, even though Hallettsville had runners on base in every inning and the leadoff batter on base in six of the seven innings.
"It's funny how the game is," said Hallettsville coach Shorty Cook. "They've been riding (Aaron) Burns and (Morgan) Cooper all the way through and this kid hadn't thrown a lot, but you've got to give him credit too. He was around the plate and he threw strikes and hit his spots early. We didn't take advantage of some opportunities and in games like this you've got to."
The Brahmas went to extra innings for the third time in the last four games in Game 3, and had won two of the previous three.
But in the eighth, Kody Cockerham led off with a single against Mettlach, and Nathan Sumner, who had reached second on a fielder's choice, scored on James Klepac's two-out single.
Ryan Renken singled for Hallettsville with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Burns got Marshall Hajek to foul out to third base on the ninth pitch of the at-bat for the final out.
"They're a bunch of warriors, they really are," Cook said. "They fight tooth and nail to the end they did today.
"These seniors have a great work ethic. Every day they work hard at practice. These guys when they come to the ballpark, I mean every day it was business for them. Whenever you take that type of attitude that is fun. I think without a doubt it's going to benefit our underclassmen."
McAda is one of the underclassmen returning for Hallettsville and won't forget this year's experience.
"Our seniors just showed us so much how to work," he said. "They set such a great example for Hallettsville baseball. We'll get them next year."
Class 2A Regional Final
Hallettsville 4, Jarrell 3
Jarrell 002 000 1 - 3 6 0
Hallettsville 000 030 1 - 4 8 1
Two outs when game-winning run scored
Morgan Cooper and Landon Ledbetter. Chris Jones, Weston Seay (7) and Ryan Renken. W: Seay (4-3). L: Cooper (11-2). HR: (H) Reagan McAda (3-run). 3B: (J) Clayton Kovar; (H) McAda. 2B: (J) Travis Cockerham. Highlingts: (J) Kovar 2 for 3, 3B, 2 RBIs; T. Cockerham 1 for 2, 2B, R. (H) McAda 3 for 3, 3-run HR, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBIs; Renken 2 for 3, 2B; Josh Mettlach 1 for 3, game-winning RBI.
Jarrell 6, Hallettsville 5 (8)
Jarrell 031 100 01 - 6 12 2
Hallettsville 001 000 40 - 5 10 1
Tyler Krupp, Aaron Burns (7) and Landon Ledbetter. Carson Schindler, Weston Seay (2), Chris Jones (4), Josh Mettlach (8), Reagan McAda (8) and Ryan Renken. W: Burns (10-0). L: Mettlach (1-3). 3B: (J) Travis Cockerham. 2B: (J) T. Cockerham, Clayton Kovar; (H) Will Wallace. Highlights: (J) T. Cockerham 2 for 4, 3B, 2B, R, 2 RBIs; Morgan Cooper 2 for 4; James Klepac 2 for 4, RBI. (H) Wallace 2 for 4, 2B, R, 3 RBIs; Braden Kahanek 2 for 4. Records: Jarrell 25-4; Hallettsville 29-10. Note: Jarrell wins series 2-1 and advances to state tournament.