CALERA – Dominant pitching was the story of the Red River Classic semifinals Friday evening as Calera and Stonewall rode sensational mound efforts into the championship game.
Stonewall blitzed Rock Creek, 9-0, behind a one-hit outing by Landon Grissom and Calera finished off Howe, Texas, 9-1, as Shawn Harper fired a two-hitter. Caddo was also a 10-2 victor against Van Alstyne, Texas with Dawson Tollett picking up the pitching win.
Today’s final round will have Caddo tangling with Caney for the consolation crown at 10 a.m. with Rock Creek facing Howe for third at noon. Calera meets Stonewall for the tournament title at 2 o’clock.
Calera 9, Howe, TX 1
Harper was virtually unhittable most of the contest with a lively fastball that kept the Texans off balance throughout, striking out 11 in the complete game showing.
Howe scored the first run of the game in the third after Calera missed a chance in the second frame when Chase Hamilton lined into an inning-ending double play following singles by Zach Maynard and Luke Weddle.
The Texas squad posted both of its hits in the frame on a single to left and a bunt, but still needed a Calera error in order to plate the unearned tally.
The hosts immediately responded with a five-run explosion to take control.
Tristen Corbin opened with a single and stole second before a walk and single from Cooper Hamilton loaded the bases. One out later, Harper helped his own cause by smashing a single up the middle to plate a pair of runs with a third coming home on a wild throw.
Brayden Langley then belted a triple to the right-centerfield gap to drive in another and scored the fifth run of the stanza when Maynard grounded out.
While Harper continued to stymie the Howe bats, Calera came alive with three more runs in the fifth, capitalizing on a lone hit from Langley which drove in two runs. Weddle also notched a RBI with a sacrifice fly.
Harper again struck out the side in the sixth and the hosts put it away on the run rule in the bottom of the frame when Cooper Hamilton singled and Corbin raced home with the game-ender on another Howe miscue.
Calera finished with nine hits as Corbin, Langley and Cooper Hamilton posted two apiece. Langley totaled three RBI.
Harper, Maynard and Weddle added one hit each.
“That was probably the best we have played so far this season,” Calera head coach Rick Teafatiller said. “Shawn (Harper) threw it really well and finished double figure strikeouts. That was the best I have seen him in a while. If he can pitch it like that we will beat a lot of people.
“I thought we came out extremely focused tonight, hit it really well and played very good defensively.”
Stonewall 9, Rock Creek 0
Rock Creek struggled to find any type of answer for Grissom, who continually got ahead in counts and struck out 12 Mustangs in the process of going the distance.
Things got off to an ominous start for Rock Creek in the top of the first inning as the first three Longhorn batters all reached base, including two via Mustang errors.
A one-out single plated the first Stonewall run and Grissom helped his own cause smashing a bases-clearing double to rightfield for a 4-0 lead.
The Longhorns then tacked on a single run in the fourth after Grissom’s second double of the game and another in the sixth. They finished off the scoring with three runs on three hits in the seventh.
It took Rock Creek almost three full innings to get a base runner as Luke Jestis was hit by a pitch and Josh Eiler walked but both were left stranded.
Garrett Schafer’s two-out single in the fourth proved to the Mustangs’ lone hit of the game.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” Rock Creek head coach Kyle Wingfield said afterward. “We spotted them four runs right off the bat and Grissom was able to settle in and throw what he wanted with the early lead.
“We had a chance to get back in it with a couple of base runners in the third but just didn’t get it done.”
Caddo 10, Van Alstyne, TX 2
Tollett posted a solid mound performance to record the pitching win and was aided by several key hits by the Bruins.
Jaden Boyd contributed a three-run double while Avery Brown also chipped in with a double.
Daniel Hawkins, Colton Ledford and Steven Crawford all finished with one hit apiece.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org