Aggressive Titans take over District 30-4A lead
April 6, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 5, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.
Ninety feet stood between Jacob Rosales and home plate.
Victoria East coach Wes Kolle knew the fastest way for his courtesy runner to get there.
"He was very slow to the plate," Kolle said of Gregory-Portland pitcher Triston Busse. "When he was in the windup, I just looked at Jacob and he gave me the eye wink and the rest is history."
Rosales stole home in the Titans' three-run fourth inning and it proved to be the decisive run in their 4-2 win over the Wildcats on Saturday at Riverside Stadium.
"We've been preaching that all along," Kolle said. "Sooner or later we're going to have to play small ball and lay some bunt downs and do some squeezes and be aggressive on the basepaths. Against a good pitcher like that you can't sit around and wait for the double in the gap. You've got to go make stuff happen. That's what we did, and we were fortunate to execute."
East (14-9-1, 7-1) claimed sole possession of first place in District 30-4A, taking a half-game lead over idle Calallen.
The Titans also put some space between them and Gregory-Portland, which fell to 18-7-1 and 5-3.
"It's a big win," said East catcher Aaron Prado. "But we've still got to finish out the season."
Prado's squeeze-bunt single brought home Trey Thormahlen with East's first run.
Rosales ran for Prado and took third on an errant pickoff throw that allowed courtesy runner Brandon Cantu to score.
"It was getting late in the ballgame and we had to try and make something happen," said Prado, who had two hits, including a double. "We just kept it together. We just knew that we were going to come out and put runs up eventually."
Neither Busse nor East starter Hunter Perkins had yielded a hit going to the bottom of the fourth.
"We definitely expected that coming in," Kolle said. "We knew it was a different look coming from submarine and his ball moves. I threw BP yesterday to get us ready and it took us a while to adjust and come through.
"We just kept preaching to the guys to stay the course and put the ball in play, do what you're coached to do and we came through with the big inning."
Thormahlen and Perkins started the inning with singles and Perkins took second on the throw to the infield.
Prado bunted the ball just far enough in front of home plate to score Thormahlen.
East added another run in the fifth on a bunt single by Cameron Williams, a double by Jonathan Ortega and a sacrifice fly by Tim Gleinser.
Perkins had seven strikeouts and pitched into the sixth before surrendering two runs, one of them earned, and giving way to Kyle Craft with a runner at third base.
Craft got out of the inning and pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.
"Coach Kolle said just play my game and don't let it get to me," Craft said. "Just throw like I usually do and keep doing what I've done in the past. I was just trying to put it in the strike zone and let my defense work."
The Titans will return to Riverside Stadium on Tuesday for their second meeting against Victoria West.
"We're ready," Craft said. "Coach keeps telling us to stay on the path and do what we're supposed to do."
Victoria East 4, Gregory-Portland 2
G-P 000 002 0 - 2 4 1
East 000 310 x - 4 6 2
Triston Busse and Bryce McCormick. Hunter Perkins, Kyle Craft (6) and Aaron Prado. W: Perkins. L: Busse. S: Craft. Highlights: (GP) Tim Rogers 1 for 1, RBI; Ruben Martinez 1 for 2; Carlos Flores 1 for 3, 3B. (E) Perkins 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HP, 7 K, 1 for 3; Craft 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K; Prado 2 for 3, 2B, RBI; Trey Thormahlen 1 for 3, R; Jonathan Ortega 1 for 3, 2B; Cameron Williams 1 for 2, R. Records: G-P 18-7-1, 5-3; East 14-9-1, 7-1.