COLLEGE STATION — Grand Oaks battled. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough.
The Grizzlies saw their campaign come to a close with a 7-1 loss to Rockwall in Game 2 of the Region II-6A semifinals Saturday afternoon at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
The game was tied at 1 before the Yellowjackets scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“When you get this deep in the playoffs, everyone is there for a reason,” Grand Oaks coach Lou Ferrell said. “They’re a very talented team, and so are we. I’m proud of my boys for battling their butts off all year. They’ve never been scared of a fight, and they’ve always answered the call.”
Grand Oaks (27-11-1) capped its inaugural Class 6A season as the final Montgomery County team alive in the playoffs. The Grizzlies won the outright District 13-6A title and defeated Aldine MacArthur, Tomball Memorial and The Woodlands in the playoffs.
“I just can’t say how proud I am of our guys for what we’ve done,” Ferrell said. “From the moment this school opened up, these guys came with a winning attitude. Every day, they’ve just embraced the work and gotten after it and knew they were trying to build something special.”
Rockwall (30-11-1), meanwhile, advances to the Region II-6A finals, where they could face off against crosstown rival Rockwall Heath for a spot at state. Heath was scheduled to play Tomball in Game 3 of the semifinals Saturday afternoon at West High School.
Yellowjackets starter Cade Crossland went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, five walks and one earned run. He finished with five strikeouts. Charlie Giese recorded the final four outs.
Grand Oaks also got a strong performance from its starter, University of Houston signee Jason Burger. The senior allowed five hits and two walks over five innings and had five strikeouts. He came out of the game in the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs on the board. Burger also toughed out a painful injury after he was struck in the leg by a line drive in the fourth inning.
“I can’t brag about Jason enough — what’s he’s done today and what he’s done the last several outings,” Ferrell said. “He got smoked on the leg right there, and that took a lot to come back from and pitch well. Hot day, getting hit like that, but for him to compete at battle and throw as well as he did, I couldn’t be prouder of the effort and performance he gave.”
Grand Oaks started the game with a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Jace Farnsworth drew a bases-loaded walk. Rockwall finally tied the game in the fourth inning as Cole Dillon and Andrew Tellia delivered back-to-back singles and Mac Rose came through with a sacrifice fly.
The Yellowjackets took the lead in the sixth as Texas commit Brayden Randle led off with a triple and scored on a dropped fly ball by the Grizzlies. With the bases loaded and no outs, Rockwall added some cushion with a 4-1 advantage as Tate Sloan delivered a two-run single.
Rockwall wasn’t done there, however. Lake Bennett scored a run with a sacrifice fly, and Sloan trotted home from third base on a wild pitch by Grizzlies reliever Hudson Hamilton. Barrett Riebock then came through with a sacrifice fly to put the Yellowjackets ahead 7-1.
“Going into that inning, Burger had been really good,” Rockwall coach Barry Rose said. “His velocity was good, and he mixed his pitches well and was keeping our hitters off-balance. I think us trying to stay in there and have quality at-bats was the key. … Really, we were just trying to play small ball and keep producing runs and keep our foot on the pedal.”