Pummeling from Sweeny puts Yoakum in hole
May 25, 2012 at 12:25 a.m.
SEALY - The first pitch of the game was a statement of intent.
Yoakum's Adam Hunter threw his best heater and it was lined into left field by Sweeny's Travis Johnson.
Each of the first four hitters for Sweeny hit the ball - and hard - to help the visiting Bulldogs take a 3-0 lead before Yoakum had a chance to respond.
With the way Kaylor Chafin was pitching, Yoakum wasn't going to have much of a response. Sweeny (28-2) went on to beat the Bulldogs 15-1 in Game 1 of a Class 3A regional semifinal series Thursday night.
Chafin used his three preferred pitches to strike out the first seven Yoakum batters on his way to 13 strikeouts in four innings, with one runner reaching on a passed ball. The junior southpaw, who entered the game with an 11-0 record and 1.50 ERA, allowed just three hits and an unearned run before being relieved by Josh Richers.
"You gotta go get it. Graduation, or no graduation, you have to go get it from the beginning," said Yoakum right fielder Taylor Nobles, referencing commencement ceremony Friday. "We didn't do that tonight and we should have."
Nobles' single to lead off the third was the first time Yoakum put the ball in play. He was stranded there when Chafin struck out the next two hitters.
Yoakum's graduation means the teams have nearly 48 hours before the series resumes. That made it all the more important to Sweeny coach Scott Carter to win the first game Thursday.
"We've been preaching to our kids all week long that we wanted to get the first one. Because without the first win it makes for a long two days to try and come back on Saturday and try to take two. This is just one win in the series. We have to come back and play again."
Sweeny has eight hitters with a .340 batting average. That was evident early when junior catcher Corey Simpson hit an inside fastball over the fence in the right field power alley in the first inning.
Simpson drove in eight runs on two home runs and a double. In his other two at bats, a courtesy runner came around to score.
"When they start a game and they get four hits in a row and then a bomb (it's tough)," said Yoakum baseball coach Bobby Nicholson. "We knew they were good hitters coming in, and we knew we had to get ahead in the count. Adam wasn't throwing as hard as he does at the beginning of the game. He started getting stronger and stronger as he went."
Hunter went four innings before Troy Kacir relieved him.
His battery mate senior catcher Brice Lauer tried to revive Yoakum. Lauer threw out a runner to end the first inning, and picked off another runner in the second.
It was his hit to lead off the bottom of the fourth that led to Yoakum's only run of the evening.
"I don't know what was wrong, whether it was mentally or physically," Nobles said. "But we weren't on our game."
A smile came across Nobles' face when reminded that his Bulldogs have been here before during their current playoff run. They lost Game 1 to Liberty Hill, and trailed Game 2, 7-1, before pulling out that game and eventually the bi-district series. The senior outfielder is hopeful his team can repeat the trick.
"We just have to come out and fight on Saturday," Nicholson said. "As long as we are scrappy and we fight I am proud of these kids either way. We're where we are for a reason. We haven't been given anything to get here. All I told them was we have to come back and fight."