The Orangefield Bobcats, Bridge City Cardinals and the West Orange-Stark Mustangs are headed to the regional quarterfinals round of the 3A state playoffs. The good news is we know that one team for sure will make the regional semi-final round. On the other hand, it is a guarantee one will not. The Bobcats and Mustangs will lace it up with a three game series played at West Brook on Friday, starting at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. with the third came to follow (if needed). The Cardinals will have to travel down the road to Nederland to face Huffman for Friday ’s game, which is planned to start at 7 p.m. New Caney will be the site for Saturday’s contest. Game two will begin at 3 p.m. If needed, game three will take place 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.

The Mustangs picked a nice week to catch a bye heading into the regional quarterfinals to face Orangefield. The Bobcats and Cardinals had to travel all over the state of Texas just to get in a one game series in the area rounds. Both series were schedule for three games, but mother nature had different plans as she dropped several inches of rain in the Houston area. When it was all done, both teams ended up at Nacogdoches High School, in Nacogdoches, where they both took care of business.

Orangefield bounced Bryan Rudder out of the state playoffs with a 6-1 victory. Jace Statum pitched a complete game giving up seven hits, walking two and striking out ten. The Bobcats scored two runs in the first inning, two in the second, and one run in the sixth and seventh innings. Statum led the game off with a solid single to left and advanced to second on Jonathon DeRamus’s ground out. Statum moved to third on a wild pitch. Jacob Felts then drew a base on balls and stole second. Chase Angelle drew the second free pass to load the bases. Quinton Evans stepped in and ripped a two RBI single, scoring both Statum and Felts. In the second inning Josh Watson led off with a single and was sacrificed by Kyle Fontenot. Derrick Evans reached on an error by the pitcher who over threw first. The error allowed Evans to go to third and Watson to score. Statum took his turn by pushing the ball over to second, which allowed Evans to score from third. Bryan Rudder’s pitching allowed one hit in the next three innings. It was a single off the bat of Felts. In the sixth inning Quinton Evans drew a free pass, stole second, then advanced to third on a fly ball to center from Watson. He scored on a throwing error by the catcher. Orangefield’s last run came in the seventh. Statum bunted a ball that the pitcher threw into right field. He then displayed his speed by dashing around the bases to score easily. DeRamus picked up the last Bobcat hit in the seventh with a single. Bryan Rudder’s one run came in the fourth inning. The collected back to back hits, and a sac fly to score the run. Statum followed the earned run with a strike out. He also made a nice flip to Felts who tagged the runner out at the plate, that stopped the Rangers’ threat.

Bridge City chased Taylor out of the state playoffs with a 4-1 victory. The Cardinals scored two runs in the first, one run in the second and one run in the fourth. Matt Hicks was in charge on the mound with ten strikeouts to go along with allowing five hits, hitting one batter and walking one. Speaking of Hicks, I have been blessed to see him play a lot of baseball. Hicks made one of the best plays I have ever seen him make in the fourth inning. With no one on, a Taylor batter put down a perfect bunt. Hicks raced off the mound, slid towards third, picked up the ball and threw the runner out going to first while he was still sliding away from the direction of his throw. I was lucky enough to have Hicks on my team when he threw a perfect game at the age of fourteen. I talked with him after the game, and I told him that the play was just as impressive as the perfect game. If you missed it, the play would be number one on anybody’s top ten. That was not the only dazzling play of the inning, the Cardinals finished the inning off with a 1-6-3 double play. In the first inning Zach Smith reached first on a dropped third strike that the catcher overthrew first on. Hicks hit a single followed by Mitchel Hubbard’s two RBI collecting triple. In the second inning, Luke Rhodes led off with a double and Evan Boren reached on a error by the third baseman. Cameron Dishon advanced the runners with a sac bunt which was followed by Joe Robertson’s sac fly to right. Smith also had a single in the frame. In the third frame Forrest Zoch added a single to the box score. The Cardinals scored their last run in the fourth when Dishon ripped a triple. Robertson plated Dishon with his second sac fly of the game. The Cardinals picked up two more hits in the game. One was Robertson’s single, and the other was Cameron Dishon’s single that kept his perfect day at the plate intact. Taylor’s only run came in the sixth inning. Hicks struck out the first batter before giving up a single, then he hit a batter and walked another. Taylor scored with a sac fly to right. Hicks then struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Hats off to Coach Griff and the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears. The Bears were defeated by Magnolia 9-4 this weekend. The Bears kept the LCM tradition alive by battling all season long. Magnolia took an early lead but the Bears scratched back to tie things up. They even took the lead in the fourth inning. Magnolia scored two runs in the fifth inning, three in the sixth and one in the seventh to end LCM’s season.