STAFFORD (Covering Fort Bend News) – The Dulles baseball team secured its playoff berth before they took the field Tuesday night against Elkins, the first for the Vikings since they lost in the 2013 UIL Texas state title game to The Woodlands. But they wanted more than just the postseason bid, because it was Senior Night and because it’s better to go into the playoffs as the #3 seed as opposed to dropping to #4.
There’s a chance Dulles will have one or more playoff games on its home field in 2019, but senior Jason Brown’s walk-off, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning was a thrilling way to end his final regular season home game. With the score tied 2-2, two outs and Will Burford leading off second base after he hustled out a double, Brown jumped on Elkins’ reliever Matthew Traylor’s first pitch to him – a curveball.
Demonstrating that it’s not necessary to pull the ball to left field every time a right-handed hitter swings, Brown roped a base hit that split the gap between Knights’ center fielder Branden Colorado and right fielder Adam Wade. Burford scored easily, setting off the Vikings’ celebration.
The 3-2 defeat dropped the Knights to 6-7 in District 20-6A play. Meanwhile, the Austin Bulldogs run-ruled the Bush Broncos in five innings, 14-3, to improve to 6-7, and voila! Friday night, Austin meets Elkins at Rick Carpenter Field in a de facto playoff game to be broadcast live on VYPE Sports Radio. The winner will be the #4 playoff seed (likely slotted to meet District 19-6A’s current #1, Katy Tompkins) and the loser will turn in its baseball gear.
The heroics of Brown, who’s committed to play college ball in Houston at the University of St. Thomas, made a winner of sophomore lefty Jaden Goodrich, who came on in relief of Vikes’ starter Austin Essex with one out in the sixth and Dulles clinging to a 2-1 lead.
Goodrich struck out Armando Soto and Mike Granson, both swinging, to end the threat. Then, in the top of the seventh, the Knights tied it not with a hit, but with baserunning. With runners at the corners, Ryan Pavlik deliberately got himself into a rundown between first and second. He drew enough attention to allow Joseph Binder to break from third and slide into home safely ahead of Brown’s throw to catcher Parker Airhart. The walk-off finish followed in the bottom of the inning.
Reed Manske (1-for-2) had a double and a walk for Dulles, while Hunter Mullings was 2-for-3. Colorado, Dorian Resendez and Pavlik had the three Elkins hits, all singles.
Ridge Point and Travis hold the top two spots in District 20-6A at 12-1, and might have to flip a coin late Friday night to decide the #1 and #2 playoff seeds. The Panthers beat the Clements Rangers 8-4, and the Tigers shut out the Kempner Cougars 9-0. Dulles is now locked in as #3.
Listen to the podcast of the Vikings’ win over Elkins on VYPE Sports Radio by clicking on https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype. Also, listen to Thursday’s first-round, Game 1 softball playoff action, Austin at Cinco Ranch, at that same link, starting at 5:50 p.m. Friday, listen to the win-or-go-home, season finale game between Austin and Elkins, starting at 6:45 p.m.