Cleburne beats Ennis, 2-1, to clinch the No. 2 seed | Sports
The Cleburne Yellow Jackets clinched the No. 2 seed in District 14-5A play with a 2-1 win Friday over Ennis on senior night at Yellow Jacket Field.
There was the potential for a three-way tie for second place – and tiebreaker games – coming into the final night of regular season play in the 14-5A district, but Cleburne (24-6) took care of business, rebounding from Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Lions, to finish as the No. 2 seed with an 8-4 record in district shares.
Cleburne coach Ross Taylor said he was “really happy” the Jackets avoided having to play tiebreaker games for seeding purposes.
“We could have played cleaner,” he said. “I would have felt better if we had made a few plays in the seventh inning and finished 2-0 instead of 2-1. But it is what it is. There was a lot of noise, a lot of energy in this stadium tonight. It was a playoff type atmosphere and we needed that.
“I think [an atmosphere like that has] it must be good for us. But our neighborhood is good for us because there are no runaways. We’re second with an 8-4 record, but there are a ton of teams in this district that can all fight.
The Jackets received another solid outing from junior Pete Martinez, who went the distance with seven hits, one walk and one run allowed with six strikeouts in seven innings for the victory.
“I think it was a really solid outing,” Taylor said. “I think if we make two games in the seventh, it’s a good outing against a good team. He probably didn’t have the most strikeouts all year, but it was a good outing for him. He was solid.
After both teams retired in order in the first inning, Cleburne took a 1-0 lead late in the second thanks to a Cooper Lynch starter triple and an RBI single from Pedro Martinez.
The Jackets added to their lead in the third inning thanks in large part to a defensive collapse from Ennis as the Lions committed three errors in the frame alone.
Cleburne’s Falon Trevino walked first and, after a strikeout, advanced to second base when JJ Perez grounded Ennis pitcher Aidan Castillo, whose shot to second base was off target for an error, allowing both runners to be safe. After a 4-6 fielder’s choice groundout, Lynch hit a grounder first but reached it on another error from Ennis, allowing Trevino to score for a 2-0 lead. Those defensive errors that led to a run proved to be the difference at the end of the night.
In the top of the seventh inning, Ennis made it interesting as the Lions were awarded a double with an out from Luke Regas and, after Regas stole third base, Ryan Diaz hit an RBI single to make it 2 -1. After a fly-out, Ryan Todd of Ennis reached an error from Cleburne to put two runners in with two out, but Pete Martinez got a strikeout to end it, leaving the game-tying run stuck at second base.
The Jackets had just four hits against Castillo, who struck out four and walked two.
AJ Tapia went 1 for 2 with a walk, Lynch was 1 for 3 with a run and Pedro Martinez was 1 for 3 with an RBI to lead Cleburne to the plate.
After failing to qualify for the playoffs last year, the Jackets are set for a Class 5A bi-district showdown with Highland Park next week. Details are to be announced.
“Obviously there are some things we need to improve on. [going into the playoffs]”, Taylor said. “But overall, I think this group fights most of the time. There’s only been a few times this year where I thought, ‘Man, we didn’t not really featured.” Most of the time we’re going to show up and play. And then it comes down to whether we get the big hit or make the big throw or not.
After the game, Cleburne held his traditional senior night ceremony.