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Baseball playoffs: Clear Springs rallies but is ousted by Cy-Fair

May 26, 2018 GMT

The manner in which the previous six innings unfolded Saturday provided little foresight that Clear Springs would almost pull off a stunning comeback in its final at-bat in a Class 6A regional semifinal series against Cy-Fair.

Sending nine batters to the plate in the seventh inning, the Chargers put a sizeable scare into the Bobcats on a toasty afternoon at the University of Houston’s Schroeder Park before falling, 5-3, in the decisive game of a best-of-three series.

Cy-Fair (31-9) advances to the Region III-6A championship against district rival Cy Ranch, which eliminated Atascocita Saturday.


It wasn’t until Cy-Fair reliever Jason Michels was able to retire Springs’ final two batters - Kai Woodard and Trey Luper - each with the bases loaded that Bobcat faithful could breathe a sigh of relief.

The Chargers (26-12-2) battled back from a 5-0 deficit in the final inning, putting the tying run at second base and the winning run at first with just one out.

However, Michels, in relief of starter Rhett McCaffety, caught Woodard looking at a third strike on a 3-2 pitch while Luper hit a routine fly to center for the final out.

“That’s what our kids have done all year,” Clear Springs head coach Chris Floyd said. “They didn’t quit. They’re resilient. We gave ourselves a chance, anyway.

“We had a rough bump in the first inning, and it’s hard to overcome that this time of the year, but after that Trey (Luper, pitcher) settled down and pitched his butt off and kept us in the game the whole time.”

Up until the seventh inning, Cy-Fair was in complete control, fueled by a four-run first inning, featuring Justin Flores’s three-run home run to left, which built the 4-0 cushion.

Through the first six innings, Clear Springs hitters were rarely baffled by Bobcat left McCaffety, they simply couldn’t find any holes in the Cy-Fair defense.

Time and again, the Bobcats made outstanding plays, whether it was catcher Peyton Lewis snagging a high pop, third baseman Zach Orlando making a diving stab, shortstop Peyton Chatagnier converting off-balance throws, or left fielder Casen White laying out to deny a hit.

Each turned in at least one defensive gem in helping McCaffety to preserve the shutout.

Finally, in the seventh, the Chargers found some openings.

Cameron Cooper started the rally with a one-out walk and Chase Arnaud then reached on an infield single. Michael Gillaspia, who delivered a pinch-hit double in his previous at-bat, lined a single to center to load the bases.


Charger leadoff hitter Tyler Hendrickson followed by ripping a run-scoring single to left to trim the deficit to 5-1. Springs’ shortstop Michael Cervantes then delivered the Chargers’ fourth consecutive hit, a single to left, which brought home two more runs for a 5-3 score.

Cervantes advanced to second on a wide throw to the plate to put two runners in scoring position.

That brought up Riley Schulz, who was able to coax a walk off Michels as the sixth straight Charger reached base.

That provided Woodard and Luper opportunities to drive in the tying or winning run, but Michels was up to the task to preserve the win.

“I think we had them on the ropes there a little bit,” Floyd said, “but their guy buckled down and got them out of it.

“Hopefully, they go on and win it. They do things right over there (Cy-Fair)…at least it appears to me. Coach (Billy) Hardin does a good job, and they play the game the right way, and our kids do, too. I think that’s why it was a good series.”

Luper’s difficult first inning saw him walk Jacob Schoenvogel, Peyton Lewis and Casen White. A wild pitch with White at the plate scored the first Cy-Fair run before Flores delivered a jolt by smashing his shot well over the wall in left.

After the first inning, Luper allowed just one more run, which came in the second. Tyler Ashy walked, stole second, went to third on a groundout by Schoenvogel and scored on Lewis’s single to center.

That 5-0 lead appeared more than enough for McCaffety, who threw only 66 pitches through the first six innings before he encountered the major scare in the seventh.

“We hit a lot of balls hard today, and they caught them,” Floyd said. “That’s baseball. Our kids played super, super hard. Our guys got better at the right time.”

For the series, Clear Springs out-hit Cy Fair, but that was of little consolation to Floyd.

“The reality is, we didn’t get most of the hits today until the last inning,” he said. “For me, it’s timely hitting…getting hits with people on base.

“All credit goes to Cy Fair. They took advantage of some opportunities when they got them.”