Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Orangefield beats Diboll to move to fourth round

For the second time in three years Orangefield has advanced to the fourth round of the state baseball post season. The Bobcats swept the Diboll Lumberjacks in two games on May 17-18 to advance in the playoffs.

Friday's first game at Lamar University's Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont took over four hours to complete as a result of three weather delays because of lightning in the vicinity. When the game was finally over and the time was approaching midnight Orangefield had a 6-2 victory over Diboll.

"We showed a lot of mental toughness right there. One weather delay is hard enough much less three, and we're out here until 11:30 at night. It was good to see the Bobcats were able to handle it, bounced right back on the field, and picked up where we left off," Orangefield Coach Tim Erickson explained.

Especially noteworthy in overcoming the complications caused by the weather was Bobcat pitcher Brycen Tait who threw a complete game to earn the win on the mound. Tait allowed five hits, walked three, and struck out six in his seven extended innings of work.

Coach Erickson exclaimed, "I told Brycen this was probably the gutsiest performance I've seen since I've been here. Despite the three interruptions he got back out there and got after it."

The Lumberjacks were a good hitting team having swept their previous series by the ten run rule in both games against East Bernard. Erickson believed it would take the Bobcats scoring some runs to capture the series with Diboll.

The Orangefield bats were quiet the first three innings of the first game as the first nine batters went down in order including five of them being struck out as Diboll took a 1-0 lead with a run in the second off Tait. The weather stoppages may have affected the starting pitcher for the Lumberjacks or maybe the Bobcat hitters just needed to see the Diboll hurler a second time.

The top of the Bobcat batting order Kane Smith opened the fourth inning for Orangefield with a base on balls. Cameron Dearing and Logan Cheek followed with walks too.

Cleanup hitter Caleb Fregia then hit a frozen rope down the left field line for a double that drove in Smith and Dearing while sending Cheek to third. The two runs gave Orangefield the lead 2-1 which the Bobcats never relinquished.

A third run tallied when Cheek scored on a ground out by Kyle Michael to put the Bobcats up by two runs. The third lightning delay occurred one inning later prior to the start of the sixth inning.

Diboll changed pitchers at the beginning of the bottom of the sixth. With two gone Michael, who suffered a serious knee injury during the football season, boomed a long fly ball to the wall in right centerfield that he legged out for a triple.

"Kyle is Kyle. He's been working his way back into it, getting a feel for everything, and it's starting to show up. This time of the year if he gets back to Kyle Michael form he's going to be real big for us," Erickson reminded.

Michael's three bagger sparked a three run rally for Orangefield which included a double by Camden Fountain to drive in courtesy runner Kyler Green. Fountain and Matthew Johnson also scored when the Diboll reliever walked three straight Bobcats and then hit Smith with a pitch to put Orangefield up 6-1 going to the seventh.

The first two Lumberjack hitters in the top of the seventh reached base on a walk and a single. Two ground outs to Fregia at shortstop netted one run for Diboll, but Tait shut the door getting a pop up to Fountain at first base to end the game with the Bobcats taking a one game to none lead in the series.

The teams traveled to Lufkin for the second game on Saturday. A possible third game was to follow if Diboll could pull out a win in game two.

Bobcat pitcher Kaleb Menard made sure there would be no need for a third game throwing a shutout in the 5-0 series clinching triumph for Orangefield. Menard was magnificent surrendering only four hits and striking out seven Lumberjacks in his complete game performance.

The big inning for Orangefield was the top of the third when it scored four of its five runs in the game. Kane Smith drove in two with a single, Logan Cheek plated one with a sacrifice fly, and Kyle Michael singled to bring home the fourth Bobcat in the inning.

Caleb Fregia was stellar with the bat and the glove. Fregia went three for three driving in the final run for Orangefield and made some outstanding defensive plays at shortstop.

Orangefield has moved to the Regional Semifinals of the UIL state baseball playoffs like it did two years ago when the Bobcats were in Class 4A. The opponent will be the Rockdale Tigers which defeated West in a deciding third game to advance to the fourth round.

The best of three games series will be played at the Cypress Woods High School in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD northwest of Houston on Wednesday and Thursday, May 22-23. The first game on Wednesday will start at 7:00 PM with Orangefield as the home team. The second game will be Thursday at 4:00 PM and Rockdale as the home team. A third game if necessary will follow thirty minutes after the second game.


Reader Comments(0)