ABILENE – All year long, the Post baseball team used its defense as an advantage.
On Saturday, that same defense committed seven errors and the Antelopes saw their magical season come to an end in a 15-5 loss to Albany in Region I-2A semifinal held at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field.
The Antelopes were also done in by an inability to keep Albany off the scoreboard in any inning.
“That kind of blew up on us and (Albany) played well from the get-go,” Post coach Jerry Pyles said. “That was uncharacteristic of the way that we have played all year.”
Albany’s offense managed 12 hits, five walks and a pair of hit batters off three Post pitchers.
“We swung the bat well, played some small ball and did a great job of putting the ball on the ground,” Albany coach David Fairchild said. “We were disciplined at the plate and didn’t panic when they tied the game.”
After watching the Antelopes leave a pair of runners on base in the first, the Lions went to work in the bottom of the inning starting with an RBI double by Adam Faith. Faith then scored when Roman Fuentes grounded out to make it 2-0.
Albany had runners on second and third with no outs in the first, but Ben Ayala buckled down to retire three straight – including Fuentes.
Post had runners on first and second with nobody out in the top of the second, but Kobe Garcia was called out for interference after colliding with Albany shortstop Brian Hamilton on a routine grounder. The call stymied the Antelopes momentum, despite having a pair of runners reach scoring position after the fact.
The Lions answered in the bottom of the second with back-to-back doubles by B.J. Morris and Hunter Owen to make it 3-0. A two-out errant throw by third baseman Brandon Britton allowed Owen to score and extend the Lions lead.
A pair of defensive miscues in the third allowed the Lions to tack on another run to push their lead to 5-0.
Post finally broke through against Albany starter Ryan Hill when Garcia scored from first on a double by Jonathan Hernandez to make it 5-1. Later in the inning, the Antelopes tied the game on a bases-loaded triple by Carson Mason and a double by Kobe Ammons.
Albany responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth as the Antelopes committed four errors in the frame while the Lions had just one hit in retaking an 8-5 lead.
“I loved (the big inning),” Pyles said. “But after you have that inning you have to put a donut on their side. When you score crooked numbers, you have to put donuts on their side when you go back out.”
The Lions then struck for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game as all 10 batters that came to the plate in the inning reached base safely.
“I’m proud of our guys and they had a great year,” said Pyles. “(Sunday) when they wake up and the sun comes up, they can look back and be proud of this 2017 baseball season.”
Post 000 50—5 5 7
Albany 221 37—15 12 1
Ben Ayala, A.J. Escobedo (5), Carson Mason (5) and Austin Britton. Ryan Hill, Josh Dyer (4) and Adam Faith. W – Dyer. L – Ayala. 2B – Post: Kobe Ammons, Jonathan Hernandez. Albany: Faith, B.J. Morris, Hunter Owen. 3B – Post: Mason. Albany: Hill.
Records – Post 26-6, Albany 23-2.