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Bearcats remain undefeated in district with pair of walk-offs


The script for the start to District 5-5A play has been kind to the Bearcats varsity diamond dogs thus far. 

A walk-off 1-0 win over Brewer on Friday, March 22, earned Aledo their first series win of the season. On Tuesday, March 26, the Bearcats (12-7-1 overall, 3-0 in district) pulled off a second walk-off win in a row to beat Granbury 3-2 in nine innings.

With the score tied at 2-2, Aledo needed to find a way to get on base. Johnny Ruflin started off the inning at the dish for the Bearcats by hitting the 1-2 offering on a line drive up the middle to give the Bearcats the baserunner they needed. 

Unfortunately, Ruflin’s time on the bases was short-lived. As Boyd Thompson stepped into the box with the lineup turning over, Ruflin was unceremoniously relieved of his baserunning duties when he was picked off at first.

After falling behind in the count, 0-2, Thompson fought off a couple pitches, took a couple more, and then grounded to short. An error by the shortstop allowed the Bearcats to put another runner on the bags with Brooks Burdine stepping to the plate looking to collect his first hit of the night.

The first offering to Burdine was a wild pitch that allowed Thompson to scamper over to second. With the winning run in scoring position, Burdine fouled off the 1-0 offering and the 1-1 offering. 

Down 1-2 in the count, Burdine came up with his lone hit of the game when it mattered most. A single to center allowed Thompson to score all the way from second with a raucous celebration ensuing.

Masterful Miller blanks Bears

Heading into their district home opener, the Bearcats knew facing Brewer’s Jayden Ayala was going to be a tough task. Fortunately for Aledo, pitching has been their strong suit so far this season.

Tasked with the responsibility of going head-to-head with Ayala for the Bearcats was Devin Miller. In a game that meant starting off District 5-5A with a sweep, Miller did not disappoint. The lanky right-hander carved up the Bears with a masterful performance on the bump to keep Brewer off the scoreboard throughout the contest.

Midway through the seventh inning, Miller had spun a gem. Going all seven innings, he surrendered just three hits, walked one, and struck out 11 batters. 

Most important, he shut out the Bears to give Aledo a chance to win it all in the bottom half of the inning.

Brennon Evans drew a leadoff walk in the home-half of the seventh to put the Bearcats on the basepath. 

Before the Bearcats stepped up to the plate, Aledo head coach Chad Barry told Lucas Nawrocki if Evans found his way aboard, Nawrocki would need to bunt him over. In spite of bunting not being Nawrocki’s strong suit, he executed the maneuver perfectly, allowing Evans to advance to second with one out in the inning.

In a bit of a jam, Ayala continued to work on the mound for Brewer to strike out the next batter, one out away from escaping and forcing extra innings. 

Aledo had pressed in their approach at the plate for much of the game to their detriment. As the game wore on, Barry reminded his team to be more patient in their approach, work the count, and foul off pitches to give themselves a better chance of getting pitches they can handle.

When Ruflin came up to bat in the dream scenario, with two outs and a runner on second, he had to make the at-bat count. Ruflin took the first two pitches to get ahead of Ayala 2-0. Ayala found the zone for the first strike of the at bat as Ruflin watched the pitch go by. The 2-1 offering missed the zone, as well, with nary a swing of the bat to this point. 

Having worked his way into an extremely favorable count without so much as taking the bat off his shoulder, Ruflin got a pitch he could handle on the 3-1 offering. He smacked a fastball into the outfield as the baserunner and the ball made for the plate. The winning run narrowly crossed the plate ahead of the ball as the Bearcats walked off in front of the hometown crowd.

The Bearcats were playing at Granbury at press time and have a home-and-home series against Saginaw next week. They travel to Saginaw on Tuesday, April 2 and host the Rough Riders on Friday, April 5, both games starting at 6:30 p.m.

Aledo vs. Granbury – Fri, Mar 26

                                                R  H   E

Granbury 000 020 000 - 2  7   3

Bearcats 000 002 001 - 3 10 0

Aledo hitting: Boyd Thompson 1-for-5, 2B; Brooks Burdine 1-for-5, RBI; Ryan Jones 1-for-4; Drew Weckel 2-for-3; Brennon Evans 3-for-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI; Johnny Ruflin 2-for-4.

Aledo pitching: Luke Saunders 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 earned), 0 BB, K; Jake Huffman 4.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

Aledo vs. Brewer – Fri, Mar 22

                                          R  H  E

Brewer 000 000 0 - 0  3  0

Bearcats      000 000 1 - 1  5  1

Aledo hitting: Boyd Thompson 1-for-3; Brooks Burdine 1-for-3, 2B; Drew Weckel 2-for-3; Brennon Evans 2 BB; Lucas Nawrocki BB; Johnny Ruflin 1-for-3, RBI.

Aledo pitching: Devin Miller 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 11 K.


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