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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Orangefield advances and Bridge City falls in baseball playoffs


Last updated 5/14/2024 at 12:05pm

Brycen Tait pitched a shutout in Game 1 and Cameron Dearing had three hits and four runs batted in during Game 2 to help Orangefield sweep Tarkington in its playoff series

One team from Orange County remains alive in the post season. Last weekend the Orangefield Bobcats won and are moving to the third round of the UIL state baseball playoffs while the Bridge City Cardinals lost to bring their season to a close.

Orangefield played the Tarkington Longhorns in a best of three series at Vincent Beck Stadium on the Lamar University campus in Beaumont. The Bobcats swept the Longhorns in two straight games.

The first game was won by Orangefield 5-0 on Thursday, May 9. Bobcat pitcher Brycen Tait continued his superb pitching throwing a complete game five hit shutout with five strikeouts.

Centerfielder Kane Smith remained hot with the bat going three for four and scoring three runs. Logan Cheek chipped in with two hits to drive in two runs for Orangefield.

There was some defense too as first baseman Camden Fountain made a couple of fielding gems with the glove. Adam Tran and Caleb Fregia turned a big double play to help Tait get out of a threat to keep the Longhorns scoreless.

The next night in the second game the Bobcats defeated Tarkington 7-1 at Lamar. Kaleb Menard earned the win on the mound for Orangefield throwing five innings allowing one unearned run on three hits with six strikeouts. Reliever Garrett Rawls pitched two impressive innings without allowing a hit and striking out five Tarkington batters.

Cameron Dearing went three for three with a single, a double, and a triple driving in four runs to lead the Bobcats. Kane Smith, Adam Tran, Matthew Johnson, and Logan Cheek each contributed to the Orangefield offense during the series clinching win.

In the third round Orangefield (25-8) will face the Diboll Lumberjacks the District 21-3A champions. The first game will be Friday, May 17, at Lamar University with the first pitch at 7:00 PM. Game 2 is scheduled for 4:00 PM on Saturday at Lufkin Hudson High School. A third game if necessary will follow thirty minutes after the second game.

The Bridge City Cardinals were eliminated by the Bullard Panthers in a tight three game series. The Cardinals took the first game in Jasper on Friday, but Bullard won a doubleheader at Lufkin on Saturday, May 11, to capture the series two games to one.

Senior pitcher Landon Reeves threw a complete game to help the Cardinals win the opening game 3-2 at the Jasper High School baseball field. Reeves surrendered just four hits and struck out five Panthers.

"Landon, what a performance tonight! He just gutted it out. Best performance of the year for him, and it couldn't come at a better time to go up against Bullard and their ace arm that they threw. That was a big battle, and I'm extremely proud of him," Cardinal Coach Chad Landry praised.

Bullard scored a run in the top of the first inning on a very close play at the plate. The Cardinals responded tallying two runs to take a 2-1 lead after one inning.

John Van Huis opened the bottom of the first with a double down the left field line. Hunter Ford bunted to third base on which the throw got away from the Bullard first basemen allowing Van Huis to score and Ford to reach base.

Ford went to second on a sacrifice by CJ Riojas and to third on a ground out by Hutch Bearden. Austin Frederick hit a hard grounder that eluded the Panther third baseman to bring home Ford with the second Bridge City run.

Ford walked to start the bottom of the third inning and was again sacrificed to second by Riojas. With two outs Frederick tripled to right field bringing Ford home to make the score 3-1 in favor of Bridge City.

Coach Landry acknowledged the contribution made by Austin Frederick. "Freddie's done a really good job of putting barrels on baseballs. Early in the season he kind of struggled a bit, but he kept fighting and working. I am so proud of him because he doesn't quit, and to see it come to fruition at the right time of the year right now has been really big for us," Landry added.

Austin Frederick, Landon Reeves, and John Van Huis led the Bridge City Cardinals to a win in the first game of the series with Bullard

The margin remained two runs until the sixth inning when Bullard scored to narrow the gap to one. Van Huis went almost to the centerfield fence to haul in a long fly with two Panthers on to end the inning.

Reeves avoided any dramatics by Bullard in the seventh retiring the Panthers in order. Landon struck out the leadoff batter, got a foul pop out to Frederick, and then a fly ball to right caught by Gavin Bodin to end the game.

The series shifted scenes after the first game, and with the change in locations the momentum was altered too. The games remained close at Lufkin as Bullard took the second game 3-2 before completing the sweep of the double header on Saturday winning 3-1 in the deciding third game to end the season for the Bridge City Cardinals.

It was another very good year for Bridge City. The Cardinals won their 27th district championship in the school's history.


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