AUSTIN, Texas — Records and rankings should never intimidate the opposition.
Canyon Randall (38-5) entered the UIL’s 4A State Baseball semifinals Wednesday at Disch-Falk Field ranked No. 4 in the state. It’s starting pitcher, Duncan Bowles, was 12-0 this season. Three batters into the game Liberty-Eylau led 3-0 en route to a 15-5 victory.
The Leopards (33-6) went on to score six runs in the first, and they never trailed. Randall would rally to a 7-5 deficit. L-E scored nine runs in its final three innings, including five in the sixth.
“Randall made some mistakes, but we hit the ball and consistently put the ball in play,” said L-E coach Zach Fowler, the winning pitcher in the Leopards’ 2006 state championship game. Evans had a great game and was my MVP. Both of the Jones brothers came up big again. We’ve still got to play better baseball tomorrow, especially on defense.”
L-E goes into Thursday night’s title game against fifth-ranked China Spring, which beat defending champion Sinton in 12 innings, 8-4. The Leopards beat No. 2 Celina last week. Thursday’s championship game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
L-E leftfielder Collin Evans makes a spectacular
diving catch in left-center. (Photo by Annie Rice).
Raider’s ace doesn’t intimidate L-E
Senior Cal Jones ignited L-E’s big first inning with a double to right-center. Triston Haugh legged out a bunt to put runners at the corners. Junior W.T. Jones lined a triple down the right field line, scoring himself on an errant throw. It was the first of five Raider miscues.
Britain Pipes followed with an infield hit, and Dylan Garton was safe on a throwing error. Aydan Easter loaded the bases on another bunt hit. Pipes scored on a single by Collin Evans, arguably player of the game with two runs, three hits, three RBIs, and a sensational diving catch in left-center with two runners on base. Cal Jones plated two more runs with a single. Cal had three hits.
Leadoff batter Payton Bush singled to center in the bottom of the first. He scored after back-to-back singles by Logan Tice and Kaden Juarez. The Raiders made it 6-2 in the second, and 6-3 after four innings.
Jones brothers contribute big for winners
Garton reached on a throwing error, and pinch-runner Ziven Banks scored on Nabors’ single to right-center. Nabors finished with two hits and three RBIs.
The Jones brothers were both outstanding in the field and at the plate.
“We’ll use everyone Thursday if we have to,” said Fowler. “I think W.T. and Cal have around 90 pitches left. We’ve got Ritchie Plant, Dylan Nabors and Haugh, too. No matter who we play, Sinton or China Spring, it’ll be tough.”
W.T. Jones started on the mound and was the winning pitcher. In 3.2 innings he scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out three. The obvious concern was W.T. threw 95 pitches and has only 15 left for the championship contest. W.T. scored three runs, with two hits and two RBIs.
Cal Jones has 79 pitches left, and senior Richie Plant 95. Plant threw a scoreless seventh.