By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
LEANDER - Chad Krempin was sweating bullets.
The game was tied 3-3 entering the bottom of the fourth and Salado's usually steady ace Casey Frazier was struggling with a tight strike zone.
"I was a little tense. We've got a young team and a lot of those guys were a little out of sorts early and weren't real comfortable I don't think," Krempin said. "And any time you get in this situation, there's going to be some nerves."
But despite a roster chock full of sophomores, the fledgling Eagles showed their first-year skipper he needn't sweat the small stuff. Salado's offense batted around for 10 runs in the fourth and registered its second straight five-inning run-rule victory, 13-3, Friday evening to sweep their best-of-three bi-district playoff series at Leander Rouse High School.
"In a time like that, I'd say we were almost relaxed more knowing we have to come through with it," said sophomore Caden Eary, who drilled a three-RBI double off the wall in left-center in his second at-bat of the fourth to cement Salado's run-rule win.
The Eagles (28-11) advanced to take on District 28-3A champion Cuero in an area-round series Friday and Saturday at a time and location to be determined.
Through the first three innings, Salado was playing catchup, forced to respond in the bottom of the frame whenever Wimberley pulled ahead in the top half of it.
But in the fourth, things just seemed to fall in place for the Eagles.
After an inning-opening strikeout, Salado loaded the bases with two straight four-pitch walks and an error. Eagles leadoff hitter Trey Mohler scored one with a deep single to left-center and junior Jon Franz (1-for-2, 2 plated another with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 6-3 after Eary scored on a passed ball one pitch prior.
Following another four-pitch walk to No. 3 hitter Marshall Mann, sophomores Cole Haag, Casey Frazier and Davis Little piled on with back-to-back-to-back RBI singles.
"I think we started seeing pitches and just started seeing where they were coming, and just started to putting the bat on the ball," said Haag (2-for-2, 3 RBIs).
Reagan Bazar reached on his second four-pitch walk of the inning, Eary followed with his bases-clearing double and then scored the run-rule clinching run on an RBI single by senior Jacob Svadlenak.
"We put (Eary) in the lineup today because he'd been hitting so well in practice and you can't just continue to leave him out of the lineup," Krempin.
Despite a rough night on the mound where he walked six Texans, Eagles pitcher Casey Frazier scattered three hits and three unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
After being shutout in a 12-0 loss Thursday, Wimberley jumped on Salado in the top of the first after cleanup hitter Tug McRoberts' RBI double score two after the Texans' first two batters reach courtesy of Eagles errors.
"We don't make a lot of errors unless they're early, and I don't know if that's nerves or preparation or what it may be, but we've got to find a way to eliminate that against the better teams," Krempin said.