Jeff Fults

Special to The Record

In a game that had it all the Bridge City Cardinals (19-9) and the Huffman Falcons (23-4) gave everyone their money’s worth and then some.

After losing the past two years to the Falcons the Cardinals felt this was their year by playing a one-game winner take-all. Ace Chase Shugart was on the mound with a lineup that has been hitting the ball extremely well.

The  Cardinals got everyone’s spirit up when  Chase Shugart doubled off of Huffman’s LHP Mathew Bumpas, in the first inning and Kyle Bergeron driving in Derick Dearing, the pinch runner for Shugart, giving the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead.

Huffman would answer early in the bottom of the second.Two hits by Huffman and a miscue by the Bridge City infield gave the Falcons two unearned runs leading 2-1 going into the third.

Bridge City Cardinal pitcher Chase Shugart battles against the Huffman Falcons in the Region III quartefinal round of the state baseball playoffs. The Cardinals lost the contest 3-2 in extra innings. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Bridge City Cardinal pitcher Chase Shugart battles against the Huffman Falcons in the Region III quartefinal round of the state baseball playoffs. The Cardinals lost the contest 3-2 in extra innings. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Shugart would settle in striking out eight, giving up four hits and three BBs in eight innings. Bridge City knotted game in the 4th when leadoff batter Bergeron was HBP. He then was advanced by Logan News sac bunt and then Tod McDowell drew a one out walk. Right fielder Corbin Voegeli’s RBI  ground ball single between third and SS had Coach Chad Landry waving Bergeron home for the tie with runners on second and third and one out.

New struck out leaving Ryan Shugart to hit a deep fly to right field for the third out.

Bridge City had their chances, leaving 10 base runners stranded and six in scoring position. Like a chess a game there were many time-outs called at the plate by the Bridge City batters as Bumpas was taking his time from pitch to pitch. There were seven bunts between the two teams, a balk, two intentional walks, time called by coaches numerous times that led to a climatic ending.

 Bridge City’s Derick Dearing rounds second base as pinch runner for Chase Shugart who singled. Dearing would score the first run in the ball game. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Bridge City’s Derick Dearing rounds second base as pinch runner for Chase Shugart who singled. Dearing would score the first run in the ball game. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

In the top of the 7th,  Chase Shugart, two for three at the plate, drove a long fly ball to the fence for the first out. Jonah Watts also flied out to left with two outs no one. Bergeron singled and Blake Pruett walked.

The Huffman  pitcher balked, advancing  runners to second and third. With two outs, runners in scoring position, left fielder Tod McDowell battled to a full count with multiple foul balls. When strike three was called, being low and outside, the Cardinal coaches and fans let the home plate umpire know exponentially.

With fuel still left in the tank, Chase Shugart shutdown the Falcons in bottom of the 7th, three up and three down.

Ryan Shugart gets a hit for the Bridge City Cardinals during playoff action against Huffman.  RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Ryan Shugart gets a hit for the Bridge City Cardinals during playoff action against Huffman. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

Leading off in extra innings Voegeli singled to right field. New sacrificed bunted, moving Voegeli to second. That would be it for  Bumpas, striking out seven while giving up five hits .

RHP Jake Harrison came  in relief for the Falcons and struck out the next two batters. Bottom of the eighth, Huffman’s Jake Harrison singled to centerfield and Bumpas hit a slow rolling infield single. With runners at first and second the batter turned to bunt. Third baseman Bergeron rushed in and short stop Johah Watts ran to cover third. Cody Gaitan bunted back to the pitcher who overthrew to third and allowed the runner to score, giving the Huffman Hawks the 3-2 win having no earned runs.

The Bridge City Cardinals year in and year out play stellar ball, this team has been together many years since Little League. Bridge City does not rebuild they reload. Congratulations on another memorable year. And congratulations to senior pitcher Chase Shugart who has been selected as a 2015 THSBCA All-Star. He is the 12th Bridge City Cardinal to be named the All-Star team.

With the game over came the bitter ending of the season for the Bridge City Cardinals. Chase Shugart followed by his Cardinal teammates congratulate the Huffman team at the conclusion of the contest.  RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

With the game over came the bitter ending of the season for the Bridge City Cardinals. Chase Shugart followed by his Cardinal teammates congratulate the Huffman team at the conclusion of the contest. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn

See ya at the game.

Photo, top right     Blake Pruett is greeting by teammates Derick Dearing, Ryan Shugart and  Bradley Thibodaux following a sacrifice hit that advanced runners on bases. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn