Yoakum advances to semifinals in 6-3 win over Needville
LA GRANGE - Yoakum and Needville entered their Class 3A regional quarterfinal with nearly identical records.
So it's not a big surprise the first two games in the best-of-three series was decided by four total runs.
A night after Yoakum (17-12-1) won Game 1 1-0, the Bulldogs clinched the series victory with a 6-3 win.
They advanced to the regional semifinal where they face the winner of the Sinton-Devine series.
"We play as a team," Yoakum coach Bobby Nicholson said. "Tonight it was the bottom part of our lineup, they all had big hits. For us, each night we have a different guy that comes through for us."
The Bulldogs took advantage of four errors by Needville (16-13) and recorded 11 hits in the win.
Sam Patek led the way for the Bulldogs at the plate going 2 for 3 and two RBI. That included the first two runs of the game by Yoakum. Thursday night, Patek was the winning pitcher for Yoakum, shutting out the Blue Jays and allowing two hits.
Friday night's game saw much more action though.
The Blue Jays started the game off hot scoring two runs in the first inning. The first scored on the first of five errors by the Bulldogs, and the second scored on a sacrifice fly.
"Usually, we play solid defense," Nicholson said. "Tonight, we had some costly errors. We may have been a little tight, but we have to learn to make plays in every situation."
After Patek tied the game at 2-2, Needville took a one-run lead thanks to an RBI single by Cody Lazaby.
It wasn't the best two innings senior Casey Morrow had thrown, but those were soon to come.
After the second inning, Morrow shut down the Blue Jays' lineup, allowing just two more hits the rest of the game. He finished the night with 6 2/3 innings of work and gave up two earned runs on eight hits and three walks. He also struck out four, including two in the sixth inning.
"Casey was lights out tonight," Nicholson said. "He made some big plays, and he came ready to play."
"My curve ball wasn't working at first," Morrow said. "Even though they were hitting it, I knew they couldn't hit my curve ball the whole game. I just didn't give up."
Neither did his teammates when they were down 3-2.
The Bulldogs tied the game at the fifth inning on an RBI single by Morrow that scored Spencer Brandt.
The bottom of the lineup came through once again for Yoakum in the top of the sixth. Hunter Lauer, who was batting ninth, hit a double to left center-field that scored one run.
Later, Lauer would score on a dropped fly ball in the outfield.
Brandt gave Yoakum the 6-3 advantage with an RBI single.
Needville, though, wouldn't go down without a fight.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and two outs on the board.
Senior Timmy Blakeney came in to get the final out and after walking the first batter, struck out pinch hitting Michael Walden to end the game.
"This is great," Morrow said after the game. "This is my last year. We played great defense and made some really good plays. I'm just ecstatic right now"
"It feels great," Patek said. "We've never been this far. It's just amazing."
Yoakum 6, Needville 3
Yoakum 0200130 6 10 4
Needville 2010000 3 7 4
W - Morrow; L - Sulak
STATS: Yoakum, Casey Morrow 6 IP, 1 BB, 4 K, 7 H; Yoakum, Caden Fishbeck 2-4, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI; Yoakum, Sam Patek 2-4, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI; Yoakum, Hunter Lauer 2-3, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI; Needville, Collin Sulak 5 IP, 3 BB, 3 K, 10 H;
Yoakum record: 17-12-1 Needville record: 16-13