Pasadena Memorial and Dobie baseball teams lock in playoff spots

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What will 121/3 shutout innings do for a high school baseball team in the month of April? A coveted spot in the Class 6A playoffs is what they get.

Outstanding pitching from the duo Hayden Stallings and Kyle Gregory either side of Easter weekend gave the Mavs those 12-plus shutout innings against Dobie and Pasadena, respectively, and secured a longer baseball season for the team. from head coach Terry Garza.

Stalling went the distance shutting out Dobie 5-0 last Thursday at Mavs Field, before Gregory picked up where Stallings left off by coming on as relief on Tuesday afternoon to hold the Eagles scoreless in a 6-1 triumph as well at Mavs Field.

The twin wins the improved Memorial District Register at 7-2 and in sole possession of second place. The Mavs still have an outside chance to claim a share of the district championship like they did last year, but it will take a red deer sweep next week to secure that prize. Deer Park head coach Chris Rupp watched part of the Memorial-Dobie contest last Thursday.

Dobie, who crushed Sam Rayburn at Maguire Field on Tuesday night 15-4, improved his district record to 6-3.

Depending on how everything plays out in nine days, Memorial and Dobie will likely face either Summer Creek or Beaumont West Brook in the first round of the playoffs. Channelview, which beat South Houston on Tuesday, saw its magic number to clinch reduced to one with the win. The Falcons are likely headed for a showdown with district leader 21-6A North Shore.

Gregory took the hill with two outs in the second inning after Pasadena halved Memorial’s 2-0 lead. It was all over once Gregory started throwing his fastball, curveball and change.

The Eagles got the grand total from another runner in the scoring position. He allowed a single in the third and a bloop single in the seventh. We wondered if an extremely windy afternoon would hamper his ability to throw strikes, but it didn’t.

“It (the wind) probably worked in our favour, actually. The wind was blowing very hard so the blows didn’t really land there. I worked on batting, making sure nobody got free bases,” said Gregory, who didn’t walk a batter.

Offensively, Marcus Lind drove in the team’s fifth and sixth runs with a brace in second and a single in sixth. Sandwiched between the two was another single in the fourth.

Kaden Fernandez was instrumental in the first two runs, hitting a first-inning single, later scoring on a second baseman error.

Then in the fifth, three consecutive Mavs extended the lead to 5-1. Jake Creason kicked off the game with a groundout to shortstop, scoring Isaac Garcia, who had singled to start the third. Rey Izaguirre singled to lead Diego Saenz, then came Lind’s brace.

In the win over Dobie, Stallings was the beneficiary of his defense by making two double plays in addition to a rare throw from the right fielder to first base to get the batter, going into the book as a 9-3 out.

The Stallings, left-handed pitchers, gave up two singles in third and two in fifth, but both frames ended in those double plays.

“I never beat Dobie in my entire high school career in any sport, football or baseball. I really wanted this one. I’ve been preparing for it all week. It feels good to beat some of these guys I know. They were pretty cocky, so it felt good to win,” Stallings said.

“Every game he got better. He’s pretty unbeatable when he does that stuff. It’s always a battle with these guys, but Hayden was attacking the zone really well. He is able to throw his curve ball any time in the count for a strike. When you do that in high school, you’re going to be pretty effective,” Garza said.

“When people hit my fastball, that’s my go-to ground,” Stalling said of his two.

Stallings had little wiggle room for three innings and the Mavs trailed just 1-0. But when Creason roped in a double for two more runs, the pressure was mostly gone. Both players on base paths at the time were due to hitters hit by pitches. Sammy Betancourt was a pincher for Frank Chavez, who was the second hitter to be hit. Garcia was the other.

Two more batters hit in the fifth made the lead 5-0. A bobble and a bad throw from a player from second to first brought the two home.

The Longhorns just didn’t play well. Balls were coming loose in the infield, Little League stuff like that only helped Memorial’s cause avenge a 5-4 loss three days earlier.

DISTRICT NOTES: In Dobie’s win Tuesday night, the team erased a 2-0 deficit with seven runs in third, singles in fourth and fifth, two in sixth and four in seventh. Devin Molina came off the bench and smashed a three-run homer in the seventh, a shot that cleared Maguire’s left field fence for a 330-foot round trip. In the third, the Longhorns hit six hits. Daniel Delgado had two hits in the inning, a double to start and an RBI single to end it, building a 7-2 lead. Rayburn’s David Juarez gave the Texans that 2-0 lead with a brace. …Pasadena had only 10 players in kit for Tuesday’s game.

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