“It ain’t over til it’s over…” and the season finale between the Bridge City Cardinals and the Hamshire-Fannette Longhorns won’t be over until Dist. 21-3A officials rule Monday deciding a winner, or that the teams finish the contest on another day.

The umpire called the game five hours after it began in intermittent rain and thunder. The umpire made the call at 11 p.m. because of lightening in one of the most unusual and high scoring contest of the season.

The game was stopped in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs after Hamshire-Fannett leaped ahead 14-11 on a grand-slam off Cardinal closer Matt Hicks. The Longhorn coaching staff requested the game be stopped due to bad weather. After an hour of deliberation the umpires informed the Cardinal dugout the game was over. The news wasn’t received well.

The undefeated Cardinals already own the Dist. 21-3A championship with Hamshire-Fannett coming in second. A win or loss has no bearing on the district standings. The outcome of the contest has implications on the Cardinal’s position further down the road in the Region III playoffs.

The final game of the district season, however, became more than a formality. It turned into a slug fest between the two playoff bound baseball teams with Bridge City battling back from a 9-1 Hamshire-Fannett lead to overcome the Longhorns 10-11 in the top of the fifth inning.

Home runs accounted for most of the scoring for both teams.

Cardinal slugger Dylan Mulhollan was the first to put one out of the park in the second inning after the Longhorns had taken a 3-point first inning lead. But in the bottom of the inning H-F rounded bases for five runs ending the night for starting pitcher Caleb Kellogg with the score 8-1.

Cardinal bats erupted in the top of the third when Joseph Robertson hit a two run homer that scored Jared Raggio running for Matt Menard. Hicks doubled and Mulhollan singled to score Luke Rhodes. Anthony Cessac’s two run homer to right center scored Blake Hubbard as the Cardinal narrowed the gap 8-7.

In the bottom of the inning the Longhorns managed another score with Cardinal pitcher Forest Zoch on the hill. Zoch was relieved by Daniel Wallace ending the round and stranding H-F base runners.

The Cardinals battled back in the fourth. Kellogg doubled and Blake Hubbard was walked. Cessac plated both of them with a two run RBI that tied the ball game 9-9 in drizzling rain.

The Longhorns answered with another home run in the bottom of the inning to pull ahead 10-9.

Grant Encalade doubled in the fifth and courtesy runner Jared Raggio was thrown out at third. Hicks struck for a two run homer that scored Robertson. For the first time in nearly two hours of play the Cardinals went back on the field with a 11-10 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth the Longhorns loaded the bases when, with two outs, a Matt Hicks pitch was nailed for a grand slam. The game was stopped with H-F claiming the unofficial victory. The official decision, however, will remain pending until Monday. Cardinal head baseball coach Chad Landry is seeking better clarification of the ruling by Dist 21-3A board members.

The district rule states if both coaches agree to suspend the game, the game can be moved to another night. The Cardinals were prepared to stay until midnight to finish the game.

The Cardinals were on their way to putting the polish on a perfect undefeated season. “We’re not taking the loss like this,” Landry said.

The Cardinals will be joined in the playoffs by cross-community rivals the Orangefield Bobcats who enter as the third place team after defeating the West Orange-Stark Mustangs 5-3, Friday in Paul Cormier Field.

The Bobcats enter the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Orangefield will now face either Liberty or Tarkington in the first round of the playoffs in two weeks. It is possible that they will meet the Bridge City Cardinals again as the playoffs unfold.

Lady Cardinals headed to playoffs . . .

In softball action the Bridge City Lady Cardinals defeated the Hamshire-Fannett Lady Longhorns 9-5 to nab the third place spot after defeating the West Orange-Stark Lady Mustangs, Tuesday, 10-0.

The Lady Cardinals will face either Splendora or Huffman in the Class 3A Region III bidistrict playoffs next week.

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