By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
With a blustery wind blowing over the left field fence and a district championship at stake, Simeon Woods-Richardson knew he had to come up big.
Saving his best performance for the last game of district play Friday, Woods-Richardson struck out 15, setting a new Kempner record for strikeouts in a game, while giving up only three hits in pitching a complete game shutout against Travis.
Kempner, Travis and Ridge Point all finished at 12-2 to claim a piece of the District 20 6A championship. Under the tiebreaker, Travis will enter the playoffs as the district’s number one seed; Kempner will be seeded second and Ridge Point third.
Kempner scored the only run it needed in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Blake Ehlinger opened the inning with a double and eventually scored on Jeremiah McCollum’s sacrifice fly. In the second inning, Jared Veasey blasted a solo home run over the left field fence, making the score 2-0, and giving Woods-Richardson a little breathing room.
Kempner threatened in the third inning as Alec Carr singled to right with runners on first and second. Travis right fielder Cole Turney aggressively played the ball and threw the runner out at the plate, keeping the score at 2-0.
Travis thought they had gotten to Woods-Richardson in the top of the sixth inning as Brandon Pruitt doubled to lead off the inning, and Kevin Ortiz singled Pruitt to third. With runners on the corners and no one out, Woods-Richardson slammed the door shut as he struck out the next three batters to end the sixth, and continued on to strike out the side in the seventh.
“I was kind of pumped up with adrenaline those last two innings,” Woods-Richardson said. “I had all of my pitches tonight. My fastball, two-seam cutter and curve ball were all working. It was amazing. I was able to place my pitches on the black (the outside edge of the plate). I have to give credit to my catcher, Jared Veasey. He was sitting out there giving me a big target right on the black.”
A month ago, Travis beat Kempner 2-1.
“Tonight, was payback,” Woods-Richardson said. “For the last three years, Travis always seemed to beat us 2-1. Tonight, we got them.”
The playoffs begin this weekend, as Kempner plays Katy Tompkins, Travis plays Katy Taylor, Austin plays Katy, and Ridge Point plays Katy Seven Lakes.