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GC Baseball: Tigers stage wild comeback, hang on to beat Sherman 6-4 to sweep series

May 4—RICHARDSON — Whew!

Take a deep breath Tigers, let it all sink in, savor this one — this wild 6-4 comeback that ended the Bi-District battle against Sherman Friday night, ended it with an all-hands-on-deck sweep where the Tigers needed every man in the dugout and just about every arm in the bullpen.

They all showed up — just in time.

In time to erase a 2-1 Sherman lead with a party in the top of the seventh when the Tigers scored five runs on two hits to send the loud and large group of Tiger fans who made the long trip to Richardson Berkner's neutral site into a wonderful frenzy — the kind reserved for the biggest games in the playoffs — and send the Tigers on to the Area Round of the playoffs.

Those wonderful Tiger fans were loud — and then got louder and louder and louder ...

The ace of Sherman's staff, who had been saved to pitch in Game 2, shut down the Tigers for six innings, allowing just one run in the third and finishing on fire, striking out the final five Tigers he faced.

But when he left the game he left the door opened and the Tigers stormed through, racing their way to next week's Area Round of the playoffs — racing one walk at a time.

Sherman's bullpen couldn't find the plate with a detective and walked the first four Tigers in the inning, throwing 15 balls in the first 19 pitches.

The fourth walk was to dangerous Adrian Baston and brought home Blake Phillips, whose dogged and determined and disciplined leadoff walk in the sixth in Game 1 led to the Tigers' 1-0 win Thursday.

His leadoff walk in the seventh Friday led to an avalanche of runs.

Blake's run Friday knotted the score at 2-2 and knotted the stomachs of every Sherman player and fan. The tension didn't last long as Josh Portillo hammered a long double that brought home two runs and a 4-2 lead.

That's right, the same Josh Portillo whose two-out single Thursday brought home Phillips in the 1-0 Game 1 Grinder.

The wild and crazy Tiger crowd hadn't even settled down yet after Portillo's clutch double when Connor Perkins ripped another two-run double, scoring Oscar Castaneda and Baston. Suddenly, it was 6-2.

Those doubles were the only extra-base hits of the game.

Tiger legendary Coach Heath Autrey has been here before, but this year's playoffs were especially challenging because Autrey's son, Easton, one of the top baseball prospects in the country, is battling a back injury. Easton (3-0 with a 1.12 ERA) would have been the Game 2 starter and his big bat would have been in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

So much for plans.

Sherman made its own comeback in the bottom of the seventh, closing the gap to 6-4, but Brody Dobbs who has been a surprise all year, got the job done when the Tigers needed him most, keeping the youngest team Autrey has had in his 13 years at Corsicana alive and well with the biggest inning of work in his Tiger career.

Isaiah "Poncho" Miranda, senior and two-year pitcher, stepped up and pitched the best game of his career, shutting down Sherman for six crucial innings, giving up only four hits and no earned runs. The Bearcats scored twice in the second on two hits, including an infield hit, and took advantage of an error to take the 2-0 lead and Dobbs stopped the comeback with a crucial inning in relief in a game that was as close as any the Tigers have played this season.

The Tigers scratched a run home in the third when Castaneda reached on an infield hit, stole second and came home on Baston's single. Baston moved up but was stranded at third when Sherman shortstop Dalton Hart made leaping catch of Dylan Anderton's screaming liner to end the inning.

Whew! It seemed like it was like that for the entire series until the seventh inning Friday when the Tigers flipped the game upside down.

They're still young, but they're growing up fast and they're now 26-5 after winning their seventh in a row and await to play the winner of the Hallsville-Kingwood Park series in next week's Area Round.