Crandall stuns Decatur with seventh inning rally, takes Game 2 and series

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, May 18, 2018.
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Decatur had Crandall on the ropes Friday in Game 2 of the 4A Region II quarterfinal.

With a chance to force a decisive Game 3 Saturday afternoon, the Eagles took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. And in a matter of minutes, Decatur watched its advantage evaporate.

The Pirates mounted a two-out, three-run rally in the final frame to stun the Eagles and walk-off with a 6-5 victory at McKinney North. Crandall won the series 2-0 and advanced to the region semifinals. 

“I’m proud of this bunch,” said Decatur coach Tommy Maddox. “I asked them to lay it on the line today and they did. They played well enough and did things well enough to win the game. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”

Down to their final out, Crandall shortstop Arturo Cindo laced a pitch that trickled past right fielder Seth Hakanson for a triple. First baseman Blake Sacharka immediately plated Cindo on a fly ball to center that got by the outstretched arms of a diving Alec Uselton.

With the tying run at second, Maddox made a move to the bullpen and brought in Chase Oberle for Beau Bedford. After a wild pitch moved Sacharka to third, catcher Kyle Brett tied the game with an RBI-triple.

Then Jerry Brian delivered the knock-out blow.

Brian belted a pitch over shortstop Eddie Fernandez into left field to complete the comeback and send Crandall to the next round.

“It’s easy to say if we keep those balls in front of us they probably don’t go as many bases, but guys selling out trying to make the final out — you never can get mad at that,” Maddox said. “We had two outs and they had four bloop hits in a row. That’s the way it goes.”

The Eagles jumped on the Pirates early, quickly racing out to a 4-0 lead. Catcher Dayne Chapman got the scoring started with an opposite-field double in the top of the second. Chapman tattooed an offering from Crandall starter Cory Vollmer that brought Uselton around to score. 

Decatur got another run in the inning on alert base running from Barrett Brown, who scampered in to score on an errant throw to third. Wilson Hicks and Chapman tallied RBI-doubles in the third to double the Eagles’ lead behind starter Bodi Rascon.

Chapman finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs after going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Game 1. Rascon lasted five innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out nine and walked four.

“I was pleased with everybody,” Maddox said. “I felt like everybody gave it everything they had. The whole series felt like we probably hit the ball harder and on the button more than they did, but somehow we hit it right at them. It’s just the way this game goes sometimes.”

Decatur ends the season at 20-16 overall in Maddox’s first year at the helm. The Eagles finished in third place in District 9-4A and went on to beat Dallas Pinkston in the bi-district round and Princeton in the area round.

Maddox believes the future of Decatur baseball is bright with most of the Eagles’ starters returning next year.

“There’s a good chance we have nine guys that have started playoff games coming back. That’s a huge deal,” Maddox said. “We knew we were a young team this year, and sometimes it showed up. These are games and situations that you’re going to get better from, as frustrating as it is.”

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