Gatesville waited three years to return to the postseason, but the Hornets will have to wait at least one more year to advance in the playoffs.
After winning the opener against Stephenville on Thursday, the Hornets’ bats fell silent as they produced a combined six hits in the final two games of the Class 3A bi-district series, including a two-hit showing Saturday as the Yellow Jackets earned a 12-2 victory, ending Gatesville’s season.
The Hornets alternated runs with the District 7-3A champions for the first two innings, but Stephenville exploded for 10 during the next three innings to produce the run-rule victory in five innings.
Gatesville scored the game’s initial run in the top of the first inning as Jeff Speer crossed home plate on teammate Wyatt Crum’s triple to right field, but Stephenville answered the score in the bottom half.
Then the Hornets reclaimed the lead in the following inning as Mitchell Chartier scored on Andrew Wallace’s RBI. But, once again, the Yellow Jackets immediately responded, tying the score 2-2 heading into the third inning.
From that point on, the Hornets (12-20-1) were unable to produce any momentum, leaving a pair of runners stranded in the third inning before going three-up and three-down in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Stephenville, however, was just getting started, recording two runs in the third inning, three in the fourth and capping off the series comeback with a five-run fifth inning.
Thanks to Crum’s three-run home run in the fifth inning of Game 1, the Hornets earned a 6-3 victory, but Gatesville lost its grip on the series in Game 2 as the Yellow Jackets used a three-run outburst in the third inning to propel them to a 5-2 win, setting up Saturday’s tiebreaker.
Gatesville made the playoffs every season from 2005 to 2010, reaching the regional quarterfinals twice, but fell just short of returning in each of the three following seasons before emerging victorious against Lampasas in a must-win situation on the last day of the regular season.
The Hornets then beat Brownwood in a tiebreaker to clinch District 8-3A’s final playoff berth.
The loss ends the high school careers of six productive starting Hornets who will be difficult to replace: Seth Martin (shortstop), Zae Paskett (left field), Christian George (catcher), Scott Shults (first base) and Crum (centerfield).
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com