Warhorses fall to Somerset in Bi-District series

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The Devine Warhorses’ season came to an early end with a three-game Bi-District series loss to the Somerset Bulldogs this past weekend.
Devine went undefeated in District 29-4A to claim that crown and earn the matchup with the Bulldogs, who squeaked into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish in District 29-4A. But Somerset didn’t play like a typical fourth-place team, bouncing back from a one-run loss in Game 1 to cruise to easy 10-4 and 10-3 wins in Games 2 and 3 to knock the Warhorses out of the playoffs.
The Warhorses were also without the services of unanimous District MVP Dillon Ricord, who split time between the pitcher’s mound and the outfield and set the table as the team’s leadoff hitter. Ricord was injured during the Regional track meet.
Game 1
The Warhorses won a pitchers’ duel in Game 1 last Friday, May 5, beating Somerset 2-1.
Devine scored both runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Newt Crouch bounced one-out single down the third base line, Jack Zimmerle singled on a line drive up the middle, and Richie Long drew a walk to load the bases. Corben Boggs lanced a single to center to knock in Crouch and Zimmerle to take the lead.
Somerset’s sole run of the game came in the top of the 3rd inning. Jared Camarillo singled to left field, took second on a bad pickoff attempt, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on Joseph Martinez’s RBI chopper to first.
Pitcher Connor Schmidt and the Devine defense were able to hold Somerset scoreless the rest of the game to win 2-1 and take the series lead.
The Warhorses had five hits, drew three walks, and left six runners on base, while Somerset was limited to four hits and one walk. Devine committed one error.
“The Somerset series started out just like we had planned,” Head Coach George Villa said. “Connor did an excellent job on the mound and our defense made plays behind him. I thought we left a few more runs out there, as did they.”
Batting: Dalton Kramer 1-2, 1 BB; Crouch 1-2; Zimmerle 1-2, 1 SB; Long 0-2, 1 BB; Boggs 1-3, 2 RBI; Isaac Solis 0-3; Matt Ornelas 1-3; Schmidt 0-3; Kyler Brown 0-2.
Pitching: Schmidt 7.0 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts.
Game 2
Somerset’s season was on the line in Game 2, and the Bulldogs played like it, scoring nine runs in the bottom of the 1st inning and never looking back on the way to a 10-4 win.
Things looked good initially for the Warhorses, who took a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning. Kramer led off the game with a line drive single to right field, and Crouch followed with a single of his own after lining the ball off the glove of Bulldog pitcher Abel Flores. Kramer and Crouch each advanced a base on a failed hit-and-run, and Zimmerle came through with a double up the middle to drive in both for a 2-0 lead. Boggs drew a four-pitch walk, and came around to score on Ornelas’s single to center after Zimmerle was thrown out at home.
The Bulldogs immediately seized the momentum in the bottom of the inning, batting around, knocking out starting pitcher Solis, and putting up nine runs. Somerset bashed three singles, a double, a triple, and drew three walks, in addition to taking advantage of a Warhorse error.
Devine scored one more run in the top of the 3rd inning. Zimmerle singled up the middle and scored later in the inning on Solis’s fielder’s choice to the Bulldogs’ second baseman.
Somerset tacked on another run of their own in the bottom of the 6th inning, thanks to a single, a hit batter, and a passed ball.
The Warhorses got the better of things on the stat sheet, out-hitting Somerset nine to six and drawing seven walks to the Bulldogs’ four. Devine was undone by an inability to get timely hits, leaving 12 runners stranded on base. Somerset left just five runners on base.
Batting: Kramer 2-5, 1 SB; Crouch 1-4, 1 SB; Zimmerle 2-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB; Long 0-3, 1 BB; Boggs 0-2, 2 BB; Solis 0-3, 1 RBI; Ornelas 1-1, 1 RBI; Leonard Pompa 0-2; Jerrod Taylor 1-1; Schmidt 1-2, 2 BB; Brown 1-3, 1 BB.
Pitching: Solis 0.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 hits, 3 walks; Boggs 6.0 IP, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts.
Game 3
The series moved to Somerset for the deciding game on Saturday, May 6, but the momentum stayed with the Bulldogs, who took an early lead and cruised to a 10-3 win.
Somerset struck for one run in the bottom of the 2nd, then put the pressure on Devine by adding four more in the bottom of the 3rd and chasing starting pitcher Crouch. The Bulldogs did their damage on six singles.
Devine continued to battle. Taylor reached on an error, Schmidt walked, and Ornelas singled to center to load the bases. Brown came through with an RBI single to left field to drive in Taylor, and Kramer drew a walk to force in another run and cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 5-2.
Taylor reached base again in the top of the 5th inning, this time with a two-out walk. Schmidt reached on an error, and Ornelas hit an RBI single to left to pull Devine to within two runs.
The Bulldogs scored five runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to take a 10-3 lead and put the game out of reach.
Somerset dominated the game, abusing the Warhorse pitching staff for 15 hits and committing just one error. Devine had eight hits, six walks, and two errors. The Warhorses left 11 runners on base, while the Bulldogs left six.
“The second and third game didn’t pan out the way we intended, obviously,” Villa said. “We left too many runners on base and committed too many errors for a playoff game. We just couldn’t come up with the big hit at the right moment. But that’s baseball.
“I’m very proud of our team. We had some injuries to deal with that hurt our chances, but our kids always believed that they could get the job done and that’s all you can ask. We will miss the seniors and they will go on to do great things.”
Batting: Kramer 2-3, 1 RBI; Crouch 1-4; Zimmerle 1-3, 1 BB, 1 SB; Long 0-3; Isiah Oropeza 0-1; Solis 0-4; Taylor 2-3, 1 BB; Schmidt 0-2, 2 BB; Ornelas 2-4, 1 RBI; Brown 1-2, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 SB.
Pitching: Crouch 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 hits, 1 strikeout; Solis 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 hits, 1 strikeout; Kramer 1.2 IP.
The Warhorses finished the season with an overall record of 18-9.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer