Bobcats beat Buna in battle for first place
Last updated 3/20/2023 at 11:31pm
The Orangefield Bobcats and the Buna Cougars were tied for first place in District 22-3A with matching 3-0 records entering action this week. The Bobcats beat Buna 5-2 on Monday night in Orangefield to remain undefeated and in first place.
After a scoreless first inning the Bobcats scored two runs in the second. Rusten Traxler had one of his two hits in the game to start the rally. Adam Tran had a two-out hit to drive in a run.
Two more Bobcats scored in the bottom of the third. Traxler again had piece of the action with a hit, and Jason Bodin had a hit that drove in a run.
Buna scored its two runs in the top of the fifth. The Bobcats answered in the bottom of the fifth loading the bases with no outs. Logan Cheek scored on a wild pitch to give Orangefield a 5-2 lead which proved to be the final score.
Pitching was once again strong for the Bobcats with Brycen Tait throwing six innings, allowing seven hits, walking only one, and striking out four to earn the win. Reliever Colton Myers retired all three Cougars he faced in the seventh inning striking out one.
Orangefield Coach Tim Erickson recognized the gutty performance by his starter Brycen Tait. "Tait, I don't think, had his best stuff tonight, but he went out and just competed. He struggled with his command a little bit hitting a couple Cougar batters early, but the bottom line is he competed and gave us a chance to win," Erickson analyzed.
The Bobcats have been getting good hitting from the top to the bottom of the batting order with number nine hitter Adam Tran contributing. Erickson explained, "He does a good job handling the bat for us. The last two games he's come up with two out rbi's. Any time you're scoring runs with two outs it's kind of a back breaker for the other team, so it was good to see."
Orangefield won its first three district games with shutouts. In all three games the Bobcat bats put up enough runs to invoke the 10-run rule being used.
After clobbering the Kirbyville Wildcats back on March 7, Orangefield had two more runaway wins between March 14-18. The rainy weather postponed the second game until Saturday.
In addition to the lopsided scores there were other similarities in the two Bobcat blowouts. Orangefield had big first innings in both games and the winning pitcher was Garrett Rawls.
Orangefield defeated the Warren Warriors 10-0 at Paul Cormier Field in the game on Saturday, March 18. The Bobcats sent ten batters to the plate in the first inning scoring five runs. Kyle Michael drove in one of the runs with a single.
Three more Bobcats scored in the third. Logan Cheek singled and Matthew Johnson was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced when Cheek stole third. Adam Tran then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt that not only scored Cheek from third but also Johnson from second when the Warriors delayed in throwing the ball home after trying unsuccessfully to get Tran at first base.
Sloppy fielding by Warren contributed to the third run of the inning. Kane Smith reached base after his bloop fly ball fell between three Warriors, and he scored on a wild throw on an attempt to turn a double play.
The Bobcats clinched the victory with two runs in the sixth. Rusten Traxler walked and then barrel-rolled home on a double by Caleb Fregia. Tran drove in the final run with a bases loaded single to center.
Rawls started on the mound for Orangefield pitching four innings, giving up three hits, walking no one, and striking out five Warriors. Johnson came on in relief and retired all six Warren batters he faced striking out one to complete the shutout.
Tuesday's game at Winnie against East Chambers was only three innings as Orangefield rolled 16-0 over the Buccaneers. Garrett Rawls threw three shutout innings and had six strikeouts to get the win on the mound.
The first inning decided the game when the Bobcats scored 13 runs. Kyle Michael had the big blow of the inning with a grand slam to make the score 12-0 at the time. Rusten Traxler went three for three with a double in the game.
Orangefield plays at Hardin on Friday. The Hornets entered this week tied for first place with the Bobcats and Buna all three were 3-0 in district.