Crandall escapes with Game 1 win over Decatur

By Reece Waddell | Published Thursday, May 17, 2018.
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Beau Bedford nearly pulled a rabbit out of his hat Thursday night in Game 1 of the 4A Region II quarterfinal.

The Decatur junior entered in relief of starter Wilson Hicks in the top of the seventh and immediately wiggled his way out of a jam with the go-ahead run at third base. Bedford ran into trouble again in the eighth, and again looked poised to maneuver around the danger.

With runners at the corners and no outs, Hicks cleanly fielded a suicide squeeze attempt and threw out Crandall third baseman Gabe Cortez at the plate. Bedford then got Jerry Brian to pop out, and after surrendering a two-out walk, the Pirates finally made the Eagles pay. 

Crandall scored the winning run on a passed ball, narrowly escaping with a 3-2 victory in eight innings at McKinney North to take a 1-0 series lead.

“I thought [Bedford] did a great job,” said Decatur coach Tommy Maddox. “He came in and battled and got us out of a tough situation in the seventh and did the things to get out of a tough situation in the eighth. We scored two runs in the first and our approach went away.  I guess everybody thought [two runs] was going to be enough. It’s frustrating. We kind of beat ourselves tonight.”

The Eagles scored their only two runs of the game in the first inning. After Alec Uselton singled to lead-off the Decatur half of the first, Hicks plated him on a soft groundout to first base.

Triston Read followed up Hicks’ groundout with a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Bodi Rascon. It would be the final time Decatur scratched across a run in the contest.

The Eagles had runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and seventh but were unable to bring them around to score.

“Every time we got someone in scoring position we started swinging too hard,” Maddox said. “We started trying to do too much instead of putting the ball in play and forcing their hand. We had a lot of pop-ups instead of squaring the ball up and doing the things we needed to do.” 

Hicks started the game on the mound for Decatur and scattered two runs on four hits. He struck out seven but struggled with his command at times, giving up six walks.

Despite this, Hicks managed to limit Crandall to just one run in the third and fourth innings. The Pirates got their first run on an RBI-single from second baseman Cole Darst, but Hicks retired the side on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play.

He surrendered the tying run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single up the middle by catcher Kyle Brett.

“I don’t think [Hicks] was as sharp as he has been but he did a great job,” Maddox said. “He scattered [two] runs and never gave up more than one run in an inning, then all of a sudden we can’t score runs. That’s the frustrating part of it. We had our chances to score runs and didn’t take advantage of them. 

“We probably had more walks than we normally do. It seemed like they had their lead-off batter on base five of the eight innings. That makes for tough pitching and that’s why Wilson’s pitch count got up pretty quick. We just didn’t do a whole lot of things to win the game tonight.”

Decatur and Crandall will play at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 2. If the Eagles win, they will force a decisive Game 3 at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

If Crandall wins, they will sweep the series and advance to the 4A Region II semifinal.

“[The message is] to not worry or think ‘We have to win two games.’ We just have to win [Friday] night,” Maddox said. “We have to come out and play a good game [Friday] night and everything else will take care of itself. You can’t win the third game until you win the second game.”

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