Post Oak advances in Little League tourney
Post Oak Little League, after scoring at least one run in each of the first four innings, didn’t score a run in the top of the fifth, and each of the three outs were by strikeout.
In the bottom of the fifth, Monument Little League scored three times, collecting one hit to do it.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was momentum. Monument had life, new energy. The score was 8-3.
There was still time and reason to hope.
But an inning-and-a-half later, Post Oak threw one shovel full of dirt after another on Monument, and the team from Houston, representing Texas East, buried Monument 18-3 in the Intermediate Division Southwestern Regional at the Grand Mesa Little League sports complex Monday.
Post Oak sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh and scored eight runs on five hits, two walks and two errors.
The errors were Nos. 3 and 4 in the game for Monument, but they made mistakes beyond dropped balls and errant throws. And Monument manager Sean Kreidler thought that was his team’s undoing along with a lack of energy and enthusiasm from the game’s outset.
“Texas East is a good team,” Kreidler said. “That team doesn’t need any help from us, and we gave them a lot of help. And it hurt.”
Post Oak came out swinging, hitting the ball well and flashing speed on the base paths. Hayden Rome, the game’s second batter, hit an inside-the-park home run. Three more hits produced two more runs and a 3-0 lead.
Post Oak added three runs in the second inning, aided by a fielder’s choice at second base that failed to get the out and loaded the bases. It allowed the next batter, cleanup hitter Ben Vaughan, to send them all home on a double for a 6-0 lead.
Post Oak was limited to a run apiece in the third and fourth innings for an 8-0 lead, then came the zero on the scoreboard in the fifth.
Monument followed by getting No. 6 hitter Matt Lowell on base on an error with one out. After a strikeout, No. 8 hitter Clayton Thurstin walked, and No. 9 hitter Austin Dowd was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Zack Owens, who was greeted by a new pitcher. A wild pitch moved each runner over and put Monument on the scoreboard. Then, Owens laced a two-run single to left field.
That pulled Monument within 8-3, and Zach Coutts followed with a walk, and a wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Rome, who entered in relief against Coutts, got a strikeout to halt the rally.
Post Oak regained control with two runs in the sixth, aided by an error, and Rome struck out the side in the bottom of the frame.
Then came the seventh, and the disastrous end for Monument.
But that was Monument’s first loss in the double-elimination tournament, which means it can make it back to the championship game. Monument must win an elimination game at 8 tonight against Floyd Gwin of Odessa, Texas.
“We have to go after it and get after a good Texas West team and try to get to the championship game,” Kreidler said.
Floyd Gwin won its third game in a row after losing its opening game Friday to Post Oak. Floyd Gwin routed Cherry Creek 19-0 despite collecting only nine hits, and it put up 12 runs in the third inning for a 14-0 lead.
Pitchers Andres Munoz and Bo J. Martinez combined on a five-hitter for Floyd Gwin, while Josh Armendariz went 3 for 4.