EARLY— The Early Longhorns’ season came to an abrupt end Tuesday after the rival Bangs Dragons picked up a 12-5 victory to secure the final postseason spot in District 6-3A.
Bangs senior standout Colton Brewer displayed his talents on the mound and in the batter’s box, recording a team-leading three RBIs while tallying eight strikeouts in route to the victory.
“Every time I go out there I try to do the same thing, pound the strike zone and let my defense do the work,” Brewer said. “I was just hitting the zone, and when your defense plays behind you, you can just throw pitches. If they hit them, then they hit them – you have your defense behind you – but most of the time they swung and missed.”
Bangs scored early and often Tuesday night, racking up a 9-1 lead by the end of the third. Bangs shortstop Ethan Sanchez drew first blood on an RBI single, then a two-RBI double by third baseman Eli Carbajal a few plays later took the score to 3-0. An infield error by Early allowed another run in the fourth, then Bangs put five more on the board in the third to give the Dragons a commanding lead heading into the back stretch.
“We came out and got up early and that is big for us. We haven’t done that a whole lot this year,” Bangs coach Keith Meador said. “It was big for us to score three in the first. We’ve played really well the last two games against Coleman and tonight we really shored up our defense.”
Following an RBI single by catcher Boston Hudson in the second inning, Early went scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth, then scored a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh off a passed ball and an RBI single by shortstop Jesson Tarrant, who picked up another two RBIs in the second inning on a double, but it was not enough to rally.
“It was a mistake or two that let them break it open,” Early coach Todd Hatton said. “You can’t get behind too far with a pitcher like that and they made some plays behind him tonight. We’re a young group and we just have to rebound next year. We have a good core group coming back. There were a lot of growing pains this year and, hopefully, next year it will pay off.”
Early ends its season 7-11 overall with a 4-6 district record. Bangs (6-13, 5-5), the fourth seed from 6-3A, will face District 5-3A champion Clyde in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
“If we can play defense like we have the last two games, keep pitching well and putting the ball in play, I told them ‘We’re capable of doing some things in the playoffs if we can just get in,” Meador said. “Now that we have, we’ll just have to see and keep building off of these last two games.”