There are four teams left in Region 3 of the state baseball 3A playoffs. Half of the teams are from Orange County. The No. 4 state-ranked Orangefield Bobcats will take on the No. 1-ranked Robinson Rockets in a three-game series beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bryan High School. Game two is slated in New Caney at 3 p.m. Saturday, with the if-needed game three immediately following. The No. 8 ranked Bridge City Cardinals will play our friends, the No. 5-ranked Jasper Bulldogs in a three game series. Game one will be in Woodville Thursday with an 8 p.m. scheduled first pitch. The second game is set at Nederland High School on Saturday where game one will begin at 5. With the recent history between these two teams, nothing short of a couple of exciting games should be expected.

Lucky 12
The Cardinals belted 12 hits and used a six-run fifth inning to take care of the Huffman Falcons in game one 12-5. Matt Hicks pitched a complete game while giving up four hits, walking one, hitting three batters, striking out six. The Falcons jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first inning. They added to their lead by scoring another two runs in the second inning to take a 4-2 advantage. The Cardinals scored in every inning. Zach Smith got the first hit for the Redbirds in the first inning with a single. Hicks followed with a double, moving Smith to third. Mitchel Hubbard plated the first run for the Cardinals with a ground ball to short scoring Smith. The Cardinals chipped away at the deficit in the second inning. Luke Rhodes drew a walk, and scored on a Matt Menard double. However, Menard was put out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.

Cameron Dishon picked up his first hit in the frame, a single. In the third inning, Bridge City tied the game. Hicks walked, Hubbard singled, and both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch. Forrest Zoch moved a run across with a sac fly to left scoring Hicks, and Luke Rhodes scored Hubbard with a double. The Cardinals took the lead for good in the fourth inning with an Evan Boren single, followed by a ground ball from Dishon. Dishon’s speed pressured the third baseman into making an erratic throw. The errant throw allowed Boren to go to third and Dishon to second. Joe Robertson plated Boren with a ground ball to short. Bridge City put the game away in the fifth with a six-run inning. Hubbard led off with a single followed by a walk to Zoch.

Rhodes kept his day perfect with an RBI single scoring Hubbard, while moving to second on the throw to the plate. Menard reached first on an error, but he was thrown out at second on a tough fielders choice from Boren. Boren hit a one hopper to right field; Menard had to make sure the ball was not caught, so he was put out at second. Boren did receive and RBI on the play by scoring Rhodes. Dishon picked up his second hit of the game, a single, but was forced out on Joe Robertson’s second RBI of the game. He collected the RBI on a fielders choice to short. Smith then hit a two RBI double scoring Boren and Robertson. Smith scored the last run of the inning on two pass balls. Bridge City scored their 12th and last run in the sixth. Zoch led off with a double, followed by a walked to Rhodes. Zoch went to third on a wild pitched and scored on a ground out from Menard. Huffman scored their last run in the seventh inning.

Second time a charm
In Saturday’s first game the Cardinals were shut out by Huffman pitching. They only mustered two hits in a 2-0 loss. Two singles, one by Luke Rhodes and Matt Menard. Forest Zoch pitched well but received the loss. Zoch gave up four hits, hit one batter, walked one and struck out four.

Bridge City took the game and series in game two on Saturday 7-4. The Cardinals scored four runs in the first inning, two in the second and one in the seventh. Freshman Hayden Guidry was called on for the start. He picked up the win by giving up three hits, walking four, hitting one batter and striking out three. Huffman’s four runs came in the first inning with a grand slam homerun, but Guidry then shut them out until he gave the ball to Matt Hicks in the fifth. Hicks closed the door by giving up only one hit, while hitting two batters and striking out seven. Hicks ended the game with three strikeouts. The Cardinals had seven hits off Huffman pitching led by Rhodes’ perfect game at the plate. He collected a double, a single, a walk and a hit by pitch. Zach Smith had a double, while Joe Robertson, Hicks, Mitchel Hubbard and Cameron Dishon each picked up a singles.

‘Stangs fall to ‘Cats
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs made round three of the playoffs very interesting with a 4-2 victory over the Orangefield Bobcats. West Orange scored one run in the first inning and three in the third to hold on to the victory. In the first inning Zach Drouillard singled, then took second on a pass ball and scored on Taylor Turley’s RBI double. In the third inning Darius Mitchell reached on an error, then was sacrificed over to second by Justin Sparrow. He scored on Turley’s second hit of the game, a single. Zane Anderson stepped in and hit an RBI single, scoring Darnall, who drew a base on balls. Orangefield made a game out of it, scoring one run in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the fifth Corey Huckabay led off with a single and scored on a Kyle Fontenot double. In the sixth inning Jonathon DeRamus led off with a single and scored on Jacob Felts third hit of the game, a single. Derrick Evans picked up a single in the seventh, but Anderson was able to shut the door for the victory. Anderson gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out six. Jace Statum received the loss giving up five hits, walking one and striking out eight.

Saturday was a different day and mindset for the Bobcats. It was Chase Angelle’s day. Chase picked up both wins on the mound, throwing five no hit innings in the first game to go along with five strikeouts and two walks. Chase pitched four shutout innings in the second game, while giving up two hits and striking out one. Angelle also made an outstanding play at first in the second game. He moved to his right to snag a line drive that led to an easy double play. Chase reached the base path on all seven plate appearances in the two games. He had two walks, was hit by a pitch twice, collected two fielders choices, one double, and had one RBI. He was also credited with three runs scored. Angelle had a lot of support in both games. The Bobcats scatted nine hits, scoring 11 runs in the first game Saturday.

If you wanted to see why Texas A&M recruited Jace Statum you should have seen the play he made in centerfield. A well struck ball hit by Jacoy Finney was heading to the wall towards right center with Statum in hot pursuit. When Statum took off I thought he was going to play the ball off the fence, and keep Finney to a double. Out of nowhere he laid out to make the spectacular catch. No one else can make that play, it was incredible. Fontenot had a triple, Huckabay had two doubles and Statum had a double. Derrick Evans had two singles, and DeRamus and Felts had a single apiece. Quinton Evans pitched the last two innings of the first game giving up one hit, walking two and striking out two. Darius Mitchell had the only Mustang hit, a single.

In the second game of the day, the Bobcats kept pouring it on with nine hits that scored 12 runs. Huckabay carried the hot bat going three for three with two singles and a homerun. DeRamus got things rolling in the Bobcats’ third inning. He led off with a homerun to left center. The Cats went on to have a seven run inning. Derrick Evans had two singles in the contest while Statum, Quinton Evans and Fontenot had a single each. Felts came in to close the game for Angelle. He hit the first batter to set up Angelle’s double play. The last play of the game capped off Angelle’s impressive day. He caught the ball and flipped it to Felts to end the series. The Mustangs picked up two hits in the second game, a double by Jordan Darnall and a single by Taylor Turley.

I would like to take this time to congratulate Coach Riojas, his staff and team on an outstanding year. The Mustangs made some noise this year and played sound baseball all year. West Orange-Stark baseball is back.