By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
With two outs in the eighth inning and the bases loaded with Deer, Deer Park’s Jacobi Martinez drew a walk-off walk to send the Deer to the state tournament in Austin this weekend.
The final score last Saturday at Crosby High School was Deer Park 2 – Fort Bend Travis 1. After winning the first game of the three-game series, Travis was shut out in the second game and could not score until the seventh inning of game three. With one out to go in the game, Travis’ Dominic Cox blasted a double down the left field line. Next up, Brandon Pruitt singled and Cox scored on a close play at the plate to tie the game at 1. On the throw home, Pruitt advanced to third base.
However, the Tigers stranded Pruitt at third, and after the Deer threatened in the bottom of the inning but did not score, the game went into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Travis’ Cole Turney singled with two outs but the Tigers could not score.
In the bottom of the inning, Deer Park, with two outs and a runner on first base, drew three consecutive walks to force in the winning run and claim the win, 2-1.
Travis out-hit Deer Park 7 to 3, but the Tigers could only score one run. Deer Park had just three hits but were the beneficiary of eight walks and second baseman Blaine Holden was hit by a pitch three times.
Deer Park’s Adrian Gonzales pitched 5 and 2/3 innings of relief, holding the Tigers to one run on six hits.
“I’m just overcome with emotion right now, because I am so proud of the job Adrian Gonzales went out there and did.
We overcame a few mistakes but it’s just a great feeling right now,” Deer Park Coach Chris Rupp said. “This is a special time for me too. I am so proud of the effort these guys put in all year. They just ground it out, and we were able to get out of here with a win.”
Last year, Deer Park was undefeated and ranked number one entering the region finals.
The Deer won the first game of the series, but lost the next two games and went home instead of to Austin.
This year, Travis was ranked in the top 10 all season, and was considered by some to be one of the best hitting teams in the nation.
The Tigers advanced to the region final where they won the first game of the three-game series. They lost the next two games and, like Deer Park last year, they went home instead of to Austin.
Having seen it up close and personal, can Travis 2018 emulate Deer Park 2017 and end up in Austin next June? Stay tuned.