ABILENE - Aledo senior Tyson Mauser set the tone for Aledo Thursday night in its Class 4A best-of-3 regional finals series against Lubbock Monterey at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
Mauser led off the game with a blast over the left-field fence for a home run, and Connor Duer, Luke Glover and Hershel Gardner each drove in a run in a four-run first inning that propelled the Bearcats to a 6-2 victory over the Plainsmen.
The Bearcats lead the series 1-0 and will reach the state tournament for the first time in school history with a win Friday night.
Game two is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Hardin-Simmons. Game three, if necessary, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hardin-Simmons.
Aledo senior pitcher Chris Reed earned the win on the hill. He went five innings and allowed five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Shane Mosiello pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out six and walking one to earn the save.
Leading 4-2, the Bearcats added a run in the top of the fifth inning. Dakota Durant, who led AHS with three hits, singled to lead off the frame. He was replaced on first base by pinch runner Zach Slemmons, who scored three batters later when Monterey committed an error on what could have been an inning-ending double play as Aledo took a 5-2 lead.
The Bearcats closed the scoring in the sixth. Durant smashed a double that drove in Wade Raburn, who reached on an error, for a 6-2 cushion.
Bearcats head coach Chad Barry then went to his bullpen and dialed up Mosiello, who struck out three of four batters in the bottom of the sixth.
Mosiello, a lefty, sealed the win by striking out the side in order in the seventh.
Taco Anderson is scheduled to pitch Friday night for the Bearcats, seeking to make school history.