By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
After the celebrations were over and all of the photos were taken and it was time to go home, a Travis player summed it up best by saying, “This was fun!”
And yes, it was fun as Travis beat North Shore 15-3 last Friday at Rice University to advance to the Region 3 6A Final for the first time. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back.
The second inning was the big inning for Travis as they scored eight runs on six hits and two walks.
Designated hitter Bo Hoeffken had two hits in the inning. Trey Faltine, Dominic Cox, Brandon Pruitt, Ryan Rickett and Jaren Burks each had singles for the Tigers as they went ahead 9-0.
“I was just trying to be aggressive, and swing at any pitch that came across the plate,” Hoeffken said.
North Shore came back to score three runs in the top of the third inning as Rickett gave up three walks and one hit.
Travis extended their lead by scoring three runs in both the third and fourth innings to make the final score 15-3. The game ended after five innings under the 10-run mercy rule.
The Tigers had 12 hits, 11 of them singles. Brandon Pruitt, Hoeffken, Rickett, and Burks each had two hits in the game, while Wes Faison, Faltine, and Cox had one each. Rickett had three runs-batted-in and Burks had two.
“Top to bottom (of the batting order) we can hit. We saw their three top pitchers and we were able to hit all of them,” Travis Coach Rodney Hernandez said.
Rickett pitched three innings to get the win, and Brandon Setliff closed out the game.
Rickett normally would have pitched the third game of the series, but Coach Hernandez decided to start him in game 2.
“My gut was telling me to go with Ryan. I talked about it with my coaches and then I made the decision to go with him. This was a big stage for Ryan, and we needed some quality innings from him,” Hernandez said.
Travis will meet Deer Park in the region final this weekend. They play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Sweeny and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Crosby. If a third game is necessary, it will be Saturday at 3 p.m. in Crosby.
“It’s going to be a great region final,” Hernandez said. “This is the farthest Travis has gone in the playoffs. We are in uncharted waters now.”