Warhorses win Area, face Cuero in Regional Quarterfinals

Newt Crouch pitched all 7 innings in Devine’s 5-4 win in Game 3 to secure the Area title. Photo by Tina Crouch.

The Varsity Warhorses faced the Richard King Mustangs in three games for the Area championship and after two tough games on Friday each team had won a game. Saturday’s game would decide the future of the season.
Game 1
In the first game against King on Friday, the Mustangs took the early lead in the first but the Warhorses tied the score in the bottom of the second when Kyler Brown walked with bases loaded and Chad Lawson scored. Top of the third was a quick three outs with 2 strikes by Connor Schmidt and a ground out. No one would score again until the bottom of the fourth when Lawson scored off of Isaac Solis’s hit. With Brady Harrell stealing second, Newt Crouch hit a triple and Harrell scored making the game King 1-Devine 3. King would score again in the top of the fifth. With one out, Crouch hits a ground ball and was thrown out but Solis was able to score in the bottom of the sixth. The game ended after the top of the seventh with a strike, a line drive caught by Matt Ornelas, and a final strike by Schmidt to end the game 4-2.
Connor Schmidt pitched all seven innings and threw 66 strikes in 106 pitches and had 1 single. Crouch 1 triple, and Lawson 1 single.
Game 2
In the second game of the night, the Warhorses took the early lead but couldn’t hold it as the game went on. Starting out strong in the first Crouch was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on an error by the Mustang pitcher. Schmidt singled and Crouch ran home. Schmidt scored on the next play when Truett Barron singled. The Warhorses ended the bottom of the first with a double play by Lawson to Tristan Kramer then Crouch. Second inning, Brown reaches second after an error after he hit a line drive and Kramer scored on the same play, Devine 3-King 0. Bottom of the third, Mustang player hits a double and his teammate scored their first run of the game. With one out, Harrell scored on an error and with Schmidt on second, Barron walked. Next batter, Barron walks loading the bases. Jerrod Taylor hit a ground ball to first and was out but Schmidt scored. Lawson walked loading the bases again. Justin Contreras scored on a passed ball and then Kramer hits a line drive to center for the final out of the inning, Devine 6-King 1. In the next inning, a line drive to right field allowed three Mustangs to run home making the score 6-4. A pitching change brought in Solis for Gehrig Runyan and after a pitch a Mustang scored on a wild one. Another score on a passed ball and then a Mustang singled and had an RBI. Bottom of the fourth ended Devine 4–King 7. The game ended after the top of the seventh when Devine couldn’t score another run.
“Game 2 provided some great performances as well. Our kids did a really good job of working the count early in the game running their starting pitcher’s pitch count up to the maximum 110 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings. Gehrig Runyan and Isaac Solis teamed up on the mound for this game and pitched well enough to win. Some miscues defensively and our lack of offense late in the game prevented us from maintaining the lead. Again, we had some great plays defensively that kept us in the game from Jerrod Taylor, Connor Schmidt, and Matt Ornelas,” stated Coach George Villa.
Pitching in the second game was Gehrig Runyan with 34 strikes in 70 pitches and Isaac Solis with 32 strikes in 60 pitches. Schmidt 1 single, Solis 1 single, Crouch 2 singles, and Barron 1 single.

2nd baseman Matt Ornelas is off at the crack of the bat to make a play. Photo by Christina Kjellerson.

Game 3
Saturday afternoon, the Warhorses played one more game against King to see who would advance to the Regional Quarter Finals. The game started off with a run from King in the first and second innings. Devine answered in the bottom of the second when Harrell sacrificed a hit and Ornelas scored. With Lawson and Kramer on base Brown hit a strong line drive and brought home the two Warhorses. King 2-Devine 3. Next inning Ornelas singled and Schmidt scored. Bottom of the fourth, Solis scored on an error making the score King 2 and Devine 5. Top of the seventh was King’s last chance to make a come back and they tried after scoring two runs but they could not get enough runs to win. Devine won with 5 runs over King’s 4.
This game “was just a game of pure grit and fight from our kids. On the mound, Newt Crouch did exactly what we needed him to do. He kept pounding the zone and allowing our defense to work. When we needed a big strike out, he was able to get one. We managed to get some big hits from Connor Schmidt, Isaac Solis, and Kyler Brown,” said Coach Villa. Newt Crouch pitched the game with 65 strikes in 96 total pitches. Solis hit 1 single, Harrell 1 single, Ornelas 2 singles, Barron 1 single, and Brown 1 double.
“I’m extremely proud of our boys and our staff. Our kids showed a lot of heart and determination after being up 6-1 in game 2 and giving up the lead and losing game 2 to come back hard and win game 3. We had so many great performances over the weekend. Connor Schmidt pitched a great game in game one having some good help on D from several players. Jerrod Taylor stood out with some great digs at 1st base that bailed us out of what could have been disastrous for us,” said Coach Villa.
Regional Quarterfinals
Up next for the Warhorses is Cuero, who beat Sinton (2-0) and Pearsall (11-0). The games will be at Marion Thursday at 7:00 and Friday at 5:00. If a third game is needed it will be 30 minutes after the 5:00 game ends.
By Dicy Chambers
Sports Writer