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UIL baseball playoffs: Rouse dominates Region IV-5A final to qualify for state

Rouse second baseman Rayner Heinrich makes a play as Jacob Soliz provides backup Saturday in Game 2 of the Region IV-5A championship series at Jourdanton High School. Rouse won 8-0 to sweep the series and qualify for state.
Rouse second baseman Rayner Heinrich makes a play as Jacob Soliz provides backup Saturday in Game 2 of the Region IV-5A championship series at Jourdanton High School. Rouse won 8-0 to sweep the series and qualify for state.

Someone forgot to tell Rouse the playoffs are supposed to get more difficult the further you advance.

The Raiders are off to the state tournament after defeating McAllen Memorial 8-0 in Game 2 of the Region IV-5A championship series Saturday at Jourdanton High School. Rouse completed a series sweep where it outscored the Mustangs 18-1 and outhit them 20-4 and improved to 10-1 in the playoffs.

"It's excitement and it's also relief," said Rouse coach Chad Krempin, whose team has allowed only four runs in its last six games. "There's a certain expectation we had coming into the season (about getting to state). ... But I felt good about the matchup from the way we’ve been playing. We have so much pitching, and we didn’t use a couple of arms. I felt good going into this series."

In what’s become a regular theme for the Raiders in the postseason, Oscar Salazar dominated from the mound in the second game of a series. Saturday, he tossed a two-hit shutout with six strikeouts and no walks and helped himself at the plate by going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

“He went right after them and pounded the strike zone," Krempin said. "He was at 50 pitches through five innings and was really efficient. He went right at them, didn't walk anybody and forced them to swing the bat."

Nathan Miller went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI and Tyler Espinosa belted a triple and drove in a run in other notable offense for Rouse.

After winning Game 1 as the visitors Friday in San Antonio, the Raiders (35-9-1) rolled again as the home team Saturday, getting on the board in the third on Salazar’s RBI double. Xander Forsell singled and his courtesy runner Gavin Silva eventually scored in the fourth to put Rouse ahead 2-0, then the Raiders broke open the game over the next two innings.

Salazar’s run-scoring single, Espinosa’s triple and Miller’s sacrifice fly highlighted a three-run fifth, with Rouse also taking advantage of two Mustang errors in the inning. Landon Miller’s RBI single and another run-scoring double by Salazar helped the Raiders push across another three runs in the sixth.

On the mound, Salazar retired the side four times and only let one Mustang reach scoring position.

This is Rouse's second trip to the state tournament after its first appearance in 2021.

"It’s exciting to have the opportunity to go and possibly win it," Krempin said.

The Rouse Raiders gather for a team photo prior to a morning practice last week. The Raiders qualified for their second UIL state baseball tournament.
The Rouse Raiders gather for a team photo prior to a morning practice last week. The Raiders qualified for their second UIL state baseball tournament.

State baseball tournament

Wednesday-Saturday, UFCU Disch-Falk Field and Dell Diamond

Wednesday: Class 1A semifinals, Dell Diamond — Fayetteville vs. Abbott, 9 a.m.; Ira vs. Chester, noon; Class 2A semifinals, Dell Diamond — Collinsville vs. Centerville, 4 p.m.; Flatonia vs. Hawley, 7 p.m.; Class 4A semifinals, Disch-Falk — Corpus Christi Calallen vs. Longview Spring Hill, 1 p.m.; Canyon vs. Texarkana Liberty-Eylau, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Class 1A final — 9 a.m., Dell Diamond; Class 2A final — noon, Dell Diamond; Class 5A semifinals — Lucas Lovejoy vs. Magnolia West, 4 p.m., Dell Diamond; Grapevine vs. Rouse, 7 p.m., Dell Diamond; Class 4A final — 6:30 p.m., Disch-Falk

Friday: Class 3A semifinals, Dell Diamond — Corpus Christi London vs. Brock, 9 a.m.; Gunter vs. Franklin, noon; Class 6A semifinals, Dell Diamond — Lewisville Flower Mound vs. Pearland, 4 p.m.; Tomball vs. San Antonio Johnson, 7 p.m.

Saturday: Class 3A final — 9 a.m., Dell Diamond; Class 5A final — noon, Dell Diamond; Class 6A final — 4 p.m., Dell Diamond

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: UIL baseball playoffs: Rouse dominates regional final to qualify for state