The Tolar Rattlers split the first two games of their best-of-three Class 2A Region 2 quarterfinals (third round) series with Valley Mills Thursday night, May 18, in Whitney. The Rattlers (19-8-2) won the opening game 3-2 before the Eagles (28-4) countered with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap.
That left the teams playing a deciding Game 3 Saturday at press time in Glen Rose. Check the Hood County News website at www.hcnews.com for the result of that game as the paper went to press early for pre-Memorial Day deadlines.
In the most recent Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association rankings Valley Mills was second and Tolar was ninth. The Eagles are also the defending Class 2A state champions, while this is the Rattlers’ third consecutive season to reach the third round of the playoffs.
The opening contest Thursday went nine innings before Tolar prevailed. The winning run was scored when Jesse Owen drew a walk.
Talan Brown and Talan Culberson combined to pitch a five-hitter.
While the Rattlers managed just three hits, they took advantage of receiving six walks and a hit batter.
“Lots of drama in the first game. Their pitcher was effectively wild and it took us a while to get the hang of his hard slider and changeup. Once we did we were able to work his pitch count up and work him for bases on balls,” Tolar coach Lance Alford said. “You could tell we were a little tight at the beginning and it didn't help that their big guy hit a home run in the first inning. Talan Brown settled down and kept us in the game as he normally does. He allowed his defense to work for him and it got us out of some tough situations.
“Then in the end Talan Culberson came in and was lights out. He loves the big situations and usually rises to the occasion. He hasn't pitched since April, but he has thrown bullpens for us every week during the season. The umpire was calling the low strike and that's the area of the zone he attacks best. It was the perfect situation.”
In the second game, the Rattlers lost despite outhitting the Eagles 6-5. However, that was offset by nine walks and two hit batters.
“The second game we knew would be a battle of attrition because of the heat and the win-or-go-home situation Valley Mills was up against. Their pitcher was tough. His control and breaking pitch gave us fits at the wrong times,” Alford said. “We needed a couple timely hits, and we could have won that game. This is why you play a series and not one game.”
Game 1: Tolar hitting - Keaton Morrison, 1-for-4, walk; Owen, 1-for-4, walk, RBI; T. Brown, 1-for-4, RBI; Culberson, RBI; Brock Owens, two walks, hit by pitch; Clayton Stembridge, hit by pitch, stolen base; Drake Owens, walk; Reis Brown, walk. Tolar pitching - T. Brown, six innings, five hits, two earned runs, three strikeouts, three walks; Culberson (win), three innings, no hits, no runs, three strikeouts, two walks, hit batter.
Game 2: Tolar hitting - Culberson, 2-for-3, double; Morrison, 1-for-4, stolen base; B. Owens, 1-for-4; Owen 1-for-2, double, two walks, RBI; Merritt Imel, 1-for-3, double, two RBI; Stembridge, hit by pitch. Tolar pitching - Cade Moody, three innings, one hit, two earned runs, two strikeouts, four walks, hit batter; B. Owens, one inning, one hit, one strikeout, one walk, hit batter; R. Brown, 2 innings, two hits, three runs (none earned), one strikeout, two walks; Culberson, one inning, one hit, one earned run, one strikeout, two walks.
At press time, several athletes from the area were competing in the North Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals this past weekend. The top 15 in the final regular season standings in each event qualified for finals.
Cate Cooper from Lipan leads all area qualifiers and will be competing in two events. She is seeded sixth in breakaway roping and 10th in ribbon roping.
Also competing from the area are:
*Evan Brown, Tolar, fifth in team roping-heeler.
*Micah Wallace, Lipan, seventh in ride-up goat tying.
*Grace Burdick, Granbury, 12th in walk-up goat tying.
*Carsyn Nolen, Granbury, 14th in ride-up goat tying.
*Kyley Kenley, Tolar, 14th in pole bending.
TGCA LEGACY BASKETBALL ALL-STARS
Two members of the Lipan Lady Indians have been honored by the Texas Girls Coaches Association as members of their Class 2A Legacy All-Star Basketball Team. Honored were seniors Lynsey Little and Chelsea Lott.
The duo helped the Lady Indians win the Class 2A state championship this season.
Legacy All-Stars will not participate in the summer clinic all-star activities but will receive a certificate and Legacy All-Star patch.
TOLAR’S BROWN HONORED BY THSCA
Tolar running back Peyton Brown has been named a member of the Texas High School Coaches Association Class 2A Super Elite Football Team.
The THSCA Super Elite Teams consists of high school players nominated by members of the Texas High School Coaches Association. The award recognizes student athletes across the state of Texas for their exemplary athletic achievement in their respective sport.
The qualifications to be nominated are:
Brown, a sophomore, led all of Class 2A Division I in rushing yards (2.777), touchdowns (49) and total points (296). He led all state classifications in TDs and points and was third in rushing yards.
Nationally, he ranked 10th in TDs, 11th in points and 21st in rushing yards.
Jaxon Robinson of Granbury has been named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star Cheer squad. The junior was named to the Class 5A-6A Red Team. She was, likewise, named 5A All-State
Academic All-State honors from Granbury went to seniors Alina Porter, Abiah Wark, Tryniti Barks, Rylan DeRouen, Karlee Greene and Avery Thomas.