EARLY - The Ballinger Bombers erupted for eight runs in the third inning to push the Brownwood Astros into the elimination bracket of the TTAB 12U District Tournament at Early City Park Wednesday morning.
Trailing 3-1, the Bombers stormed back for a 10-5 victory and will face the Stephenville Royals at 8 p.m. Thursday for the right to advance to Friday's tournament championship game.
The Astros, meanwhile, must defeat the Early Vipers at 6 p.m. Thursday, then knock off either the Brownwood Rays or Coleman Bluecats at 8 p.m. to continue on to Friday action, where they would face the loser of the Ballinger-Stephenville contest in a battle for the second championship game berth.
Aven Ochoa reached on a leadoff infield single for Ballinger in the top of the third, then the Astros recorded the first two outs of the inning. Kyle Bullard then came through with a two-out RBI single to cut the Astros' lead to 3-2. Chris Martinez followed with an infield single, then Nick Martinez was intentionally walked to load the bases.
The Astros appeared poised to escape the inning with the lead, but the defense was unable to record a force out at second base following a ground ball during Bryce Lopez's at-bat - and the floodgates opened after Ballinger moved in front, 4-3.
Nick Martinez later scored when Zach Cauda was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Lopez then stole home after Dakota Falcon, who reached on a walk, took a large lead off first base and the Astros attempted to pick off Falcon at first. Ochoa later drove home Falcon and Cauda, while Aiden Zavala, who was also plunked by a pitch, came home on an error that allowed J.J. Zavala to reach base.
Ballinger added its 10th run in the bottom of the fourth when Chris Martinez singled with two outs, stole second base, and came home on Nick Martinez's RBI single to left.
The Astros jumped in front, 2-0, in the top of the first as Austin Barnum doubled down the left field line with one out and Gavin Brandstetter followed by reaching on an error. Giosue Nowowiejski then plated Barnum on an RBI infield single to shortstop, while Hayden Proffitt drilled an RBI single up the middle to drive in Brandstetter.
Ballinger cut the Astros' lead in half, 2-1, in the bottom of the first as Chris Martinez led off with an infield single and scored on Bullard's RBI single to left field.
The Astros stretched their lead to 3-1 in the the top of the third as Brandstetter reached on a miscue and came home on Nowowiejski's RBI single to left.
Trailing 9-3, the Astros added their fourth run in the fourth inning as Logan Posey reached on an infield hit and scored on Brandstetter's RBI bloop single over the first baseman.
The final run for the Astros crossed the plate in the top of the sixth as Barnum walked and scored on Nowowiejski's two-out RBI ground out.
In other TTAB 12U District Tournament action Wednesday, the Stephenville Royals defeated the Brownwood Rays, 13-7, while Coleman eliminated Miles, 19-1.