District baseball wraps up this week
Last updated 4/24/2023 at 10:22am
This is the final week of the District 19-4A baseball season for the Bridge City Cardinals, the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears, and the West Orange Stark Mustangs. The state playoffs start next week.
Of those three county teams Bridge City has the best chance to make the post season. The Cardinals pulled off a sweep of the Jasper Bulldogs last week to improve their district record to 7-3 and hold second place in district one game behind the first place Vidor Pirates with two games to play.
Bridge City went to Jasper on Friday and won the second game of the series 7-1. Braylen Collins got the win on the mound for the Cardinals with reliever Landon Reeves closing out the victory. The two pitchers combined to allow only three hits to the Bulldogs.
Collins added some pop with his bat going two for four with a double and three runs batted in. Reeves had three hits including a double. JS Bearden and Justin Abate also had key hits for the Cardinals to help them to the win.
Tuesday's contest at Bridge City was a tight one with the Cardinals edging the Bulldogs 4-3 in a walk off win. A Jasper error in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed John Van Huis to score the winning run for the Cardinals.
Bridge City got strong pitching from a couple of different Cardinal hurlers on Tuesday as well. Aidyn Mulhollan and JS Bearden combined to strikeout ten Jasper batters in the game.
The Bears and Mustangs played two games last week with Little Cypress Mauriceville winning both of them. The Bears improved their position in the district standings which has them tied for fifth place with Jasper two games behind fourth place Silsbee.
Friday's game was played at Ronnie Anderson Park under dark clouds, but the rain and lightning held off with no weather delays. Little Cypress Mauriceville used three homeruns and good pitching to beat West Orange Stark 5-2.
The Bears' Marco Bandiero broke a scoreless tie in the third inning. Bandiero hit the first of his two homeruns on the night with a blast over the 330-foot mark in right center field off of Mustang starting pitcher Tyrone Wilson scoring courtesy runner Cole Johnson who was running for catcher Justin McCarver in front of him to put Little Cypress Mauriceville up by two runs.
LCM went up 3-0 in the top of the fourth. Parker Seago got a two-out single to left to score courtesy runner Ethan Fry from second base.
Bandiero led off the fifth for the Bears. After falling behind in the count no balls and two strikes Marco poled one to right field which like his blow in the third sailed over the fence for a homer to give Little Cypress Mauriceville a 4-0 advantage.
Starting Bear pitcher Dylan Istre had pitched four scoreless innings to that point allowing only one hit, one walk, and hitting a Mustang batter while striking out four. In the bottom of the fifth Istre walked the first two WOS hitters Carlos Calana and Zach Nation. Parker Freeman came on to pitch for Little Cypress Mauriceville.
Christian Anderson lined a single to center that was hit so hard center fielder Dean Reynolds gloved the ball and threw in it allowing Calana to only advance one base to third which loaded the bases. William Lee followed with a base hit to left that brought home the first run for the Mustangs while keeping the bases loaded.
Tyrone Wilson the best hitter on West Orange Stark hit a hard grounder up the middle, but Clay Raney playing shortstop for LCM fielded the ball cleanly tossed to Seago at second base for the force out who then relayed to first just ahead of Wilson for a huge double play. On the play Nation did score the second run of the inning to make it 4-2 in favor of the Bears after five innings.
The Bears got the final run of the game in the sixth. With two outs Seago ripped a sinking liner down the right field line which Lee made a diving effort to catch but could not get his glove on the ball and it rolled all the way to the fence. Seago motored around the bases and slid home head first just before the Mustangs' catcher Grayson Gregory got the relay throw to make the tag culminating an inside the park homerun.
Bandiero moved in the sixth inning from first base to the mound making his first pitching appearance this season. Marco threw the final two innings for the Bears.
Noah Robles walked for the Mustangs in the sixth, and Bandiero surrendered a double to Lee in the seventh followed by a walk to Wilson but did not yield a run in his two innings of pitching. Istre was credited as the winning pitcher for Little Cypress Mauriceville with Bandiero getting a save.
The first game of the week between the two Orange rivals was played Tuesday at Don Gibbens Field. The Bears won that game 9-5 over the Mustangs.
Little Cypress Mauriceville scored four runs in the first inning to take the early lead. West Orange Stark would answer with four runs of their own in the fourth before the Bears rallied in the fifth to put some distance between the two teams on the scoreboard.
The Bears were led by Parker Seago, Parker Freeman, and Cameron Bilbo who each had two hits in the game. Carlos Calana got two base hits for the Mustangs with Tyrone Wilson and Grayson Gregory having one hit apiece.
Coach Hunter Hagler of the Bears was pleased with the two wins in a week which keeps the chance of a playoff berth alive for LCM. "We've put ourselves in a situation that we can come out and have a dogfight next week. I believe if we win two we at least insure a play-in game depending on what happens throughout the rest of the district," Hagler explained.
The Bears' opponent in the final two games is Silsbee. Little Cypress Mauriceville is 4-6 and Silsbee is 6-4, so two wins by the Bears would move them into a tie for fourth place the final playoff spot. Jasper needs to win two games against first place Vidor to make it a three-way tie for fourth.
Bridge City at 7-3 still has a chance to capture the district title but the Cardinals will need some help. The Cardinals close the district schedule with two games against West Orange Stark playing Tuesday's game at West Orange and Friday's game in Bridge City.
If the Cardinals can win both games this week and Jasper beats Vidor in its two games Bridge City would be the district champion outright. If Jasper and Vidor split their two games and Bridge City sweeps West Orange Stark the Cardinals and the Pirates would finish tied for first place. A seeding game between the Cardinals and Pirates would be on Saturday, April 29, with the time and location to be determined if necessary.