By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Deer Park advanced into the Region 3 6A final against Travis High School by beating Ridge Point 5-2 in the third game of their series.
Deer Park jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as the first four Deer Park batters singled. Ridge Point threatened in the fourth inning when with one out Michael Cooper was hit by a pitch and Aaron Allen singled, the first hit of the game for the Panthers. The rally ended right there as Deer Park pitcher Clay Aguilar got a fly-out and strike-out to end the inning.
Deer Park had two runners on in the fifth inning but Ridge Point reliever Luke Farrar worked out of the jam.
Deer Park added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning to make the score 5-0. In the bottom of the inning, Parker Wayne reached first base on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a double by Michael Cooper. Zach Johnson reached on an error as Cooper scored to make the score 5-2. Jared Mack had an infield single and Connor McAllister reached on an error to load the bases. Kyle Croft then slammed a line drive to center field that was caught, ending the inning. The Panthers could not score in the bottom of the seventh inning and North Shore claimed the win.
Aguilar held the Panthers to two runs on six hits.
“Everything was working today, my two-seam, my four-seam, my curve and slider were all working. Getting a lead in the first inning was awesome. It makes it so much easier for me on the mound,” Aguilar said.
“Hits were tough to come by today. They (Deer Park) had a good pitcher on the mound, and have a good team and good coaching. We knew it was going to be tough today. We almost pulled it out today. I am proud of our team the way they battled back today. Congrats to Deer Park,” Ridge Point Coach Clinton Welch said.
Deer Park will be making its second consecutive trip to the region finals.
“It’s great to be going back to the finals. You can’t go to state unless you make the region finals,” Deer Park Coach Chris Rupp said. “Today was a great performance by (pitcher) Clay (Aguilar). It was a must win game. To get this far two years in a row is great.”