Antlers shut out Dripping Springs to advance to semi-final - hccommunityjournal.com: Sports

Antlers shut out Dripping Springs to advance to semi-final

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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 9:56 pm

Dripping Springs had no answer for Tivy hurler Colten Drake Saturday.

The 6-foot-3 junior tossed 5-2/3 innings of no-hit ball from the mound, rapped one hit at the plate and scored one run, and the Antlers cruised to a 5-0 shutout of the Tigers in Game 3 of a best-of-three Class 5A Region IV quarterfinal playoff series at Antler Field.

Tivy led 2-0 after five innings and scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the series, 2-1, after rallying from an opening-game loss in Dripping Springs with back-to-back home shutouts. Over the course of the final two games the Antlers recorded no errors, struck out 11 Tigers, allowed only three hits while connecting on 16, and scored eight runs.

“This (win) shows these guys have some mental toughness,” Tivy coach Chris Russ said after watching his team improve to 29-11 on the year and punch a ticket to a regional semifinal date this week against Mission Sharyland. “You have to have that, especially if you lose the first game like we did. We responded in this game just like we did in the second game. Our defense was a solid all-around team effort with no errors.”

Drake was heat personified in Saturday’s win, retiring the first 14 batters he faced, including nine by strikeout. He tossed 89 pitches for 55 strikes before Russ brought Cole Miears to the mound in relief with two outs in the sixth inning.

Miears needed just one pitch to cause a Dripping Springs flyout, which was caught in left field by Drake to end the top of the frame.

Tivy’s Cooper Duennenberg rapped a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth before the storm clouds hovering over Antler Field and a lightning warning caused a 30-minute delay, but it hardly mattered to the Antlers. After resuming play, Tivy’s Cole Mixon put runners at first and second with a single, and Stoney Rhodes followed with another single to score Duennenberg, upping the Antlers’ lead to 3-0.

Mixon advanced to third off Rhodes’ hit and came home via a passed ball at the plate, and Coleson Abel tripled in Rhodes to make it a 5-0 game.

Miears and the Antlers’ defense then shut down the Tigers in the seventh inning to secure the win. Rhodes fielded a ground ball and made the toss to Brady Delgado at first base for the leadoff out, Abel made a centerfield grab for the second out, and Drake snagged a long ball in left field for the final out.

“It’s easy to get relaxed during a rain delay, but I could feel our energy level was good when the tarp was coming off to resume play,” Russ said.

Tivy’s 2-0 lead came early. Drake looped a second-inning single and scored when Mixon slashed a long single, and Abel opened the third with a single before scoring when Miears hit into a fielder’s choice.

Tivy finished the day with 11 hits. The batting parade was led by Abel, Braden Jager, Mixon and Rhodes with two each, while Delgado, Drake and Duennenberg all added solo hits.

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