The Smithson Valley Ranger baseball club (22-6-1 overall, 13-3 in district) wrapped up the #2 seed in district 26-5A during last week’s schedule, beating Judson 5-4 last Tuesday before cruising past Churchill 7-1 on Friday night in the regular season finale.
With the two wins, the Rangers equaled their 13-3 mark in district from a year ago and now await Austin High, the #3 seed from district 27-5A, in the opening round of the state playoffs this Friday and Saturday.
It wasn’t easy for SVHS last Tuesday night in Converse, as the scrappy Rockets were able to score a run in each of the first four frames.
But the Rangers scored two each in the second and fourth, leaving the game knotted at four heading into the top of the seventh.
That’s where junior Derek Moczygemba stepped in.
Moczygemba drilled a solo homer to give his team the lead, and that shot would prove to be the game-winning run, as pitcher Brad Nasis went on to shut down the Rockets in the bottom half of the inning.
Nasis picked up the win after tossing the final inning, coming into the game in relief of Justin Beck, who threw four innings after starter Corey Bafidis was pulled after two frames of work.
Beck also had a huge game from the plate, going 3-4 with a solo home run of his own in the second.
Outfielder David Pawelek added a solo shot in the second as well, and Dominic Hamilton and Kevin Keeton each notched RBI singles to close out the Rangers’ scoring.
Each team had 10 hits in the ballgame.
And even though Smithson Valley’s win over Judson guaranteed them a second place finish in district, that didn’t stop the Rangers from earning a solid 7-1 victory over Churchill at SVHS last Friday.
That’s most likely a good sign regarding SV’s hopes of a deep playoff run, as their focus appears to be right where it should be at this point in time.
A couple of key players that the Rangers need to come through in order to succeed in the postseason are senior Ben Woodchick and junior Justin Beck.
Woodchick was Smithson Valley’s best pitcher throughout the regular season, and Beck did more damage than any other player from inside the batter’s box.
And the junior’s no slouch from the mound either.
These two players, having emerged as team leaders, will be instrumental for the Rangers in the coming days (and hopefully weeks).
Game one of the bi-district series between the Rangers and Maroons will be played at Texas State University Friday at 7 p.m., with game two being played at the same site Saturday at 1 p.m.
Should the two teams spilt those first two games, a deciding game three would be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two on Saturday.