Decatur clinches playoff berth in win over Bridgeport

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, April 27, 2018.
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Bodi Rascon turned the game around in one swing Friday against rival Bridgeport.

Bodi Rascon (24) is greeted by teammates at home plate after hitting a grand slam Friday against Bridgeport. Decatur won 6-2. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

With the bases loaded and the score tied at 2, Rascon teed off on a fastball over the middle of the plate, depositing Corbin Bailey’s pitch over the right field fence for a grand slam. Rascon’s fourth inning blast gave Decatur the lead for good, as the Eagles clinched a playoff berth in a 6-2 victory over the Bulls.

“[Bailey] was throwing the same thing,” Rascon said. “The second at-bat I lined him up down the middle and relaxed, and that third one I was just confident I was going to get a base hit. It felt really good. I knew it was gone. I just didn’t want to celebrate it too much.”

Decatur claimed the third seed in District 9-4A with the win and Sanger’s loss to Krum. The Eagles will face Dallas Pinkston in the bi-district round next week. Date, time and location is TBD.

Bridgeport was fighting for its playoff life in the game. Had the Bulls won, they would have forced a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots in 9-4A between Sanger, Bridgeport and Decatur. Instead, the Bulls’ season ends at 3-7 in district.

Southpaw Wilson Hicks got the nod for Decatur on the mound. After a shaky start, Hicks quickly settled in, giving up only one hit in the final six innings. He sat the Bulls down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings, pitching a complete-game.

Hicks finished the night with nine strikeouts. He struck out the side in the top of the third, ringing up Daniel Delgadillo with an off-speed pitch that froze him.

Decatur junior Wilson Hicks pitches in a game against Bridgeport Friday. Hicks threw a complete-game, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out seven. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“Our gameplan was get guys on base and bunt them over — do some things like that to really get [Hicks] out of his rhythm,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “Once he gets going he’s pretty hard to hit. There was one inning where he didn’t throw more than 10 pitches. Our goal against any ace is to get to the bullpen and we weren’t able to do that.”

Hicks allowed his only two runs of the game in the first inning. The junior walked the first batter of the game and then made an errant throw to second base, putting two runners aboard. Bridgeport’s Ethan Herschler plated both runners on an RBI-single to center, giving the Bulls an early 2-0 lead.

“Whenever you walk the leadoff batter it’s always hard,” Hicks said. “The first inning was on me. I just went out there, relaxed, got in a rhythm and pounded the strike zone. I got ahead and worked ahead. I got in a good groove by the third [inning].”

The Eagles got a run back in the bottom of the first on a bad pickoff throw to first. As Hicks continued to keep Bridgeport off the board, Decatur started to solve Bailey until finally breaking through in the fourth with Rascon’s bases-clearing grand slam.

The Bulls ended their season 9-17 overall. The Eagles finished 16-13 overall and 5-5 in district. Decatur advanced to the 4A Region II finals last year, falling to Texarkana Pleasant Grove one series shy of the state tournament,

“Once we knew we weren’t going to win and couldn’t finish second, our goal was to get into the top part of the bracket. We did that,” said Decatur coach Tommy Maddox. “It’s week-by-week now. It doesn’t matter how you get in [the playoffs]. You get in, get on a roll and hopefully take care of some business.”

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