Tom Bean holds on against Trenton

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Tom Bean's Owen Langford scores during the Tomcats' victory over Trenton in the District 11-2A opener.

TRENTON — The seven-run lead had almost vanished and one swing could have turned Tom Bean’s district-opening victory into either a loss or led to extra innings.

Trenton kept the bottom of the seventh going for a half-hour, inching closer with every at-bat. The Tigers took advantage of some miscues by the Tomcats, including a dropped pop-up off third base by Dylan Chapman that helped extend the inning.

But Chapman redeemed himself with the game-saving play on a diving stop of a ball ticketed to tie the game that instead was the final out as the Tomcats held on for the 9-8 victory to start 11-2A play.

“Baseball can be a pretty funny game sometimes. The guy who had something bad happened to him goes and does that,” Tom Bean head coach Bryan Pauler said. “At the end of the day we did what we needed to do. We didn’t play as well as I’d like. We learned a hard lesson.”

Gage Moore was 2-for-3 with a walk, drove in a run and scored twice, Chase Parsons was 2-for-4, drove in a run and scored, Dustin Hickman was 2-for-4 and scored twice, Chris Harmon was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI and Owen Langford reached base three times, scored twice and threw four scoreless innings to get the win for Tom Bean (5-1, 1-0).

Braden Burks was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI, Mason Boone reached base three times, including a double, drove in a run and scored and Junior Rodriguez walked twice and scored twice for Trenton, which scored five times in the seventh.

Lance Pauler came on to close it out and James Day reached on an error to open the inning, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a one-out wild pitch.

Kasey Spindle and Rodriguez followed with walks and Burks hit a smash that got through at third and scored both to get the deficit down to three.

After a fielder’s choice, Boone doubled down the third-base line. The winning run came to the plate after a dropped third strike extended the inning and also scored a run to make it 9-7 before Angel Hernandez's liner headed to left field was snagged off one hop by Chapman. He made the tag on the runner racing by him end the game.

Trenton scored on the play and that would have been the tying run advancing to third.

After jumping out to a big lead, the Tomcats bats went silent against Gage Savage, who came on in relief of Boone. Savage went the final five frames, allowing two unearned runs on four hits with six strikeouts and a walk.

“He basically said, ‘I’m going to hold the line right here,’” Pauler said. “We were able to get to him at the end for a cushion we absolutely needed.

Both runs came in the seventh. With one out, Alex Sanchez struck out but reached when the throw to first pulled Boone off the bag. Hickman had an infield single and Harmon came through with a two-out single to left center for a 9-3 advantage with just three outs to go.

In the sixth inning, the Tigers picked up with a pair of runs. Spindle reached on a one-out error and Rodriguez walked. Burks followed with an RBI single to right and Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch.

Sanchez worked out of a jam he created when Trenton loaded the bases with one out, getting a strikeout and flyout.

Trenton’s comeback started in the bottom of the fifth against Sanchez.

With a 7-0 lead and Langford at 80 pitches in his second appearance of the season, Pauler felt it was time to make a switch.

“The main thing I’m going to do is protect a kid,” Pauler said. “We’re still trying to build him up.”

Savage walked to start the inning, took second on an errant pickoff throw and went to third on a wild pitch. Boone drove him in with a sac fly to right.

Langford manufactured a run with his legs to widen the gap to seven runs. He was hit by a pitch to begin the third inning and went to second on a wild pitch. Harmon walked and on ball four Langford stole third before scampering home on another wild pitch.

The Tomcats batted around in the second inning as they opened a 6-0 advantage and most of the damage was done with two outs.

Hickman singled and then Langford reach on an error to open the frame. With one out, Chapman had a sac fly to center. Tom Bean then strung together four consecutive RBI singles from Branson Ashlock, Moore, Parsons and Pauler.

Tom Bean had a lead three batters into the game when Moore singled to right, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and then scored on Pauler’s one-out grounder to short.

District 11-2A

Tom Bean                9

Trenton                    8