EARLY - With their season on the line, the TTAB 12U District Tournament host Early Vipers rallied from two runs down, then held off a late charge by the May Tigers for a 5-4 victory Wednesday morning.
With the win, Early moves on to challenge the Brownwood Astros - a 10-5 loser to Ballinger Wednesday - at 6 p.m. Thursday in elimination bracket action. May, meanwhile, had its season end with Wednesday's loss.
Facing a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the third inning, Early took the lead for good thanks to a three-run outburst.
With one out in the third, Ethan Pallette singled to center field ahead of an infield single by Jared Baucom, then Ki Houston was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A pair of wild pitches during the at-bat of Andrew Caten - who eventually walked - allowed Pallette and Baucom to score and knot the score at 3. Burton Henderson then drew a free pass to load the bases, and John Acker followed with an RBI bases-loaded walk as Early grabbed a 4-3 advantage.
Early tacked on a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the fifth as Houston led off with a single and scored on Caten's one-out RBI bloop double down the left field line.
May attempted to stage a rally in the top of the sixth as Braden Steele led off with an infield single and Kamden Gamblin followed with an RBI double to left-center field. With one out, however, Luke McKenzie grounded to the Early shortstop Houston, who tagged out Gamblin attempting to advance to third base, then threw to first base in time to retire McKenzie to complete a game-ending double play.
Early scored first in the bottom of the first as Pallette reached on an error, then later came home when another May miscue allowed Houston to reach base.
May fought back, however, as a leadoff homer over the center field fence by McKenzie in the top of the second evened the score at 1.
In the top of the third, May opened a 3-1 advantage as Gage Sparks led off with an infield single and scored on an RBI double by J.D. White. Steele followed with an RBI ground out that drove in White.
In other TTAB 12 District 12U Tournament action Wednesday, Coleman ousted Miles, 19-1, while the Stephenville Royals pushed the Brownwood Rays into the elimination bracket, 13-7.