'Clutch' plays, hits lead Antlers to Game 2 win over Heights - hccommunityjournal.com: Sports

'Clutch' plays, hits lead Antlers to Game 2 win over Heights

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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2019 9:08 pm

JOURDANTON — A stunning throw by Tivy senior Braden Jaeger and a game-saving tag at the plate by catcher Travis White forced the Antlers and Alamo Heights into extra innings Saturday, and Jaeger and White both smacked key hits in the top of the eighth inning to help lift the Antlers past the Mules, 4-1, in Class 5A Region IV area-round playoff action at Indian Field.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Jaeger snagged a ground ball in right field and fired a rocket to White, whose tag on an Alamo Heights runner at home plate denied the Mules a game-ending score.

Jaeger then gave the Antlers the lead on his next at-bat with an RBI double, and White connected on a line drive to left field that bounced off the fence, plating Brady Delgado and Jaeger for a 4-1 lead.

The Mules sent only three batters to plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, and each were returned to the dugout, first by shortstop Walker Grimes, then by Delgado at first base before Jaeger sealed the win with a spectacular catch in right field.

“Braden had a clutch catch to end the game,” Tivy coach Chris Russ said after watching the Antlers improve to 27-10 with a two-game sweep of the best-of-three playoff series. “He made a good read and chased it down. Braden had a really good night all around.”

With the win, the Antlers advance to a regional quarterfinal playoff series against Dripping Springs this week. The times, dates and locations have not yet been determined, but Russ confirmed it will be a three-game series.

Tivy earned the first run in Saturday’s game on a centerfield single by White that brought Delgado across the plate.

A tough defensive effort by both teams left the score at 1-0 until the bottom of the seventh inning when Heights finally got on the board to tie the game.

But that would be the Mules' last run.

“When Jaeger gave us the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, it was great, but they (Alamo Heights) didn’t seem worried,” Russ said. “That changed when Travis brought in two more runs on that long double. It was like the exclamation point on the game. It took the wind out of them, and denying them the chance at a Game 3 was really key because they would have gained momentum.

“We had several guys step up in clutch situations, and this win was truly a team effort,” Russ said.

Jaeger not only had a big night on defense, but also went 4-for-4 at the plate with one RBI. White had two hits on four at-bats with three RBIs. Cole Miears reached base twice on two hits, while Delgado recorded one hit.

Coleson Abel got the start on the mound and went four-plus innings, allowing four hits and striking out four batters. Miears earned the win after coming in to relieve Abel and tossing for more than three innings, giving up four hits and striking out two Mules.

“Coleson pitched an excellent game and Cole did just what we needed him to do when we made the switch,” Russ said. “We had a great night on the mound.”

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