SUGAR LAND (Covering Fort Bend News) – The usual suspects are again perched atop the District 20-6A baseball standings. The Travis Tigers improved to 11-1, same as the Ridge Point Panthers, with a 9-4 win over Clements Friday in a game that was rained out the day before.
The Tigers and Panthers could possibly finish the district schedule still owning identical district win-loss records, and who gets the top and second seed entering the playoffs would be decided by a coin flip.
Clements (4-8) is still mathematically alive to claim the fourth and final playoff spot, but with two games to go, the Rangers will have to climb over 5-7 Austin and 6-6 Elkins just to force a one-game extension of the season Saturday. The Rangers’ “tragic number” is one. Any Clements loss or an Elkins win extinguishes the Rangers’ hopes.
Travis beat Ridge Point in the biggest game of the year Tuesday, 2-0. Maybe it was a figurative hangover from the big win, or an unusual week where their only option for group baseball activity while they waited out Thursday’s rain was swinging at wiffle balls in the gym – whatever the reason, the Tigers’ bats started slow.
Clements starter Tristan Thomas carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning, then his pitching counterpart, Trey Faltine, singled to break it up. Three straight walks and a Mason Brock two-run double gave Travis a 3-0 lead after four innings.
In the top of the fourth, with Carson Wilson on the mound in relief of Thomas, the Tigers gave Faltine four more runs to work with. Their rally featured a Kevin Ortiz double, singles by Thomas Roldan and Colin Mushinski, and Brock’s sacrifice fly.
Faltine was pitching with a heavy heart. His paternal grandmother died Wednesday in Houston, and he performed with strong resolve to honor her memory. The senior right-hander pitched into the fifth inning, allowing only four hits and one unearned run while striking out nine. Hank Bennett relieved Faltine and got the last four outs.
“Trey had a great game on the mound, considering the adversity he faced this week with the passing of his grandmother,” said Tigers’ Head Coach Rodney Hernandez. “He showed a lot of grit this week.
“Mason Brock came up with a big hit today, and Colin Mushinski made a great play on defense, on a ball that could have easily been a big hit for Clements.”
Travis faces Kempner and Bush in its final two district games, and will be a prohibitive favorite in both. Tigers’ Head Coach Rodney Hernandez is in a position to rest his two pitching aces, Faltine and lefty Kenny Dutka, in those games. Ridge Point faces Clements and Dulles.
Listen to the podcast of the Tigers’ win over Clements on VYPE Sports Radio by clicking on https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype. Also, listen to Tuesday’s broadcast game, Elkins at Dulles, and Dulles at Ridge Point Friday at that same link, starting at 6:45 p.m. VYPE Sports Radio will also carry a live broadcast of first round girls’ softball playoffs if scheduling permits.