DRIPPING SPRINGS — It was worth every minute of the wait.
Lampasas had every intention of opening its Class 4A bi-district series against Boerne on Thursday. Mother Nature, however, had different plans.
Inclement weather postponed the game until Friday, when after two and a half innings, once again, heavy rains inundated the area, forcing the contest to be delayed until Saturday and shortening the series to a winner-take-all game.
Then, the Badgers were forced to endure a four-hour delay before beginning the game as other series relocated to Dripping Springs’ artificial turf field.
But by the time Lampasas’ contest ended, the hours of frustration turned to jubilation as Marty Ybarra’s walk-off single with the bases loaded sent the winning run across home plate, giving the Badgers a 2-1 victory and propelling them into the area round for the first time since 2006.
Following the win, Lampasas head coach Shane Doege admitted it was an outcome worth waiting for.
“One of the things we talk to the kids about all the time is being mentally tough,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never been through a week like that.
“We were pushed back and moved around because of the storms, and we didn’t feel like we got what we wanted, but to overcome everything and be at our best when our best was needed is incredible.”
The contest resumed with Badgers trailing 1-0, and the score held for a majority of the evening as Lampasas left seven runners stranded through four innings of play.
The trend did not continue in the seventh inning, though.
Gauge Gholson led off the inning with a walk before Ethan Rascoe’s single advanced him. Two batters later, Hunter Rebando was intentionally walked, loading the bases and setting up Austin Hilgenberg’s RBI to tie the score.
In the following at bat, Doege sent Ybarra to the plate as a pinch hitter, and the move paid off.
Ybarra connected on a single to score Rebando, clinching the come-from-behind victory.
“It’s been hard trying to maintain our focus,” Ybarra said, “because we spent nine or 12 hours on the bus that last couple of days, and it never seemed like things were on our side.
“So, it feels really good to be able to come through all that and get the win to go on to the next round.”
Lampasas (18-12) collected five of its six hits in the extended game Saturday with Gholson (double), Jon Davis, Ace Brooks, Rascoe and Ybarra each delivering.
Now, for the first time in more than a decade, the Badgers turn their attention toward the second round.
“We’re prepared now,” Ybarra said. “We know if we string hits together then we can win any ballgame.”
Lampasas advances to play Bellville (12-12-3) in the area round, beginning either Thursday, Friday or Saturday at a location to be determined.
While the Badgers do not know much about the next round yet, Doege now knows all he needs to about his team.
“This is a great bunch of kids,” he said. “They’re just so tough. We had all these things going against us, and it would have been easy to be negative, but they never flinched.
“To maintain their focus says a lot about these guys.”
SATURDAY’S HIGH SCHOOL PLAYOFF SCORES
Class 6A bi-district
- Copperas Cove 5, Rockwall 4
- Rockwall 16, Copperas Cove 1, Rockwall wins series 2-1
- Rockwall-Heath 19, Ellison 0
- Rockwall-Heath 13, Ellison 2, Rockwall-Heath wins series 2-1
- Tyler Lee 5, Belton 0, Tyler Lee advances
Class 4A bi-district
- Wimberley 3, Salado 0, Wimberley wins series 2-0
- Lampasas 2, Boerne 1, Lampasas advances