Hallettsville head coach Shorty Cook walks back to the dugout after talking with his team on the field during a pause in the action during Thursday night's game against Jarrell. The Brahmas lost to the Cougars, 5-4, in nine innings.
As of Friday, June 1, 2012
CLASS 2A REGIONAL FINAL
W: Cooper, L: Mettlach
• Game 2: Saturday, noon
• Game 3, if necessary: Following Game 2
AUSTIN - Hallettsville had played two straight extra-inning games and four straight games without committing an error.
Neither of those factors worked in the Brahmas' favor against Jarrell.
Hallettsville committed four errors and the last led to a walk-off, two-out, full-count, bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Cougars' 5-4 win in Game 1 of the best-of-three Class 2A regional final series on Thursday night at Tornado Field.
"You like to play clean baseball, but you know baseball's a game that those things happen," said Hallettsville coach Shorty Cook. "We've played good defense and it's just one of those things. We've got to put it behind us right now."
The Brahmas (28-9) will attempt to come back when they return to Tornado Field for Game 2 on Saturday at noon. If Hallettsville wins, Game 3 will follow.
Hallettsville took advantage of two of Jarrell's six errors to take a 4-1 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. The key hit was a two-run triple by Josh Mettlach, in which left fielder Kyle Marquis and center fielder Nathan Summer collided while trying to catch the ball. Nate Kowalik followed with an RBI single.
But the Cougars (24-3) came back to score three unearned runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by Landon Ledbetter and a RBI single by Morgan Cooper.
"When you get in games like this you kind of got to slow the game down and don't let it be too fast for you," Cook said. "I think we got that lead and we're a little excited and we let the game get a little too quick for us."
The Brahmas had a chance to take the lead in the top of the eighth but Cooper, who relieved starter Aaron Burns to start the inning, struck out Ryan Renken with runners on second and third.
Hallettsville escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh when Mettlach, who relieved starter Reagan McAda in the sixth, got Clayton Kovar to hit into a fielder's choice.
But in the ninth, a walk, a single by Nathan Summer and an error on Kowalik at third base loaded the bases with one out. Mettlach got Kovar to fly out to shallow center for the second out.
The Hallettsville pitcher then threw three straight balls to Ledbetter before coming back with two strikes. Ledbetter fouled a pitch off before drawing the winning walk on a pitch well outside the strike zone.
"It was a tough decision, it really was," Cook said of his decision to leave Mettlach, who hadn't pitched since the bi-district series, in the game. "I honestly was going back and forth with it. Midway through each inning we decided we're going to live or die with him. It's hard to stay real sharp if you hadn't thrown in about three weeks."
The Brahmas out-hit Jarrell 6-5, but scored only in the first inning on a double steal of home and second by Renken and Carson Schindler and in the sixth.
"We battled," Cook said. "We hit some balls on the nose. Carson Schindler hit two on the nose right at them and dad gum it's something the way this game is. It's a shame that it happens in this one. We love them all and we'll come back on Saturday and see what we can do."
Class 2A Regional Final
Jarrell 5, Hallettsville 4 (9)
Hallettsville 100 003 000 - 4 6 4
Jarrell 010 003 001 - 5 5 6
Two outs when winning run scored
Reagan McAda, Josh Mettlach (6) and Ryan Renken. Aaron Burns, Morgan Cooper (8) and Landon Ledbetter. W: Cooper (11-1). L: Mettlach (1-2). 3B: (H) Mettlach. Highlights: (H) Mettlach 2 for 4, 3B, 2 RBIs; Nate Kowalik 1 for 3, RBI. (J) Ledbetter 1 for 3, 2 R, 3 RBIs. Records: Jarrell 24-3; Hallettsville 28-9. Note: Jarrell leads series 1-0. Game 2, Saturday, noon, Concordia University, Austin. Game 3, if necessary, following Game 2.