By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com NEWS & SPORTS – FREE & LOCAL
GRAFORD (MAY 16, 2015) —It was a shocking finish neither team will ever forget, though Stephenville will forever wish it could.
Venus scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, four of them after there were two outs, eliminating Stephenville 10-9 in game three of an area-round baseball series Saturday afternoon.
Stephenville hit three home runs and led until the last at bat at the game. The Jackets led by as many five runs, in fact, before Venus scored six times over the final two frames.
The last at bat was like something out of a fairy tale for Venus, or a nightmare for Stephenville.
The Bulldogs had trimmed their deficit to 9-6 thanks to a triple by Josh Lindley and an RBI single by Tarleton State commit Easton Brown. Then came the second out. Then came the unbelievable finish, beginning with a single by Tanner Foy and a walk by Tyler Foy loading the bases.
Cody Norberg hit a line drive that was very nearly caught by diving Stephenville second baseman Sam Weber. Instead it was a single. Then it got worse, with the ball rolling past outfielders to the fence in right center. All three runners scored to tie the game at 9-9, and Norberg moved all the way to third, where Stephenville overthrew the bag. The ball went into the Venus dugout, and by rule, Norberg was granted the next base – home plate.
The shocking twist lifted Venus to a regional quarterfinal matchup with Graham, and ended the season for Stephenville, which just moments earlier appeared bound for a playoff rematch with Graham after splitting two district games with its 6-4A rival.
Three home runs powered Stephenville to its 9-4 lead. Brock Morrison, Ben Martin and Kaegun Williams each had dingers, the second in two days for Morrison and the second in two weekends for Williams.
Martin was 4-for-5 from the plate with a two-run home run in the top of the second. His dinger gave Stephenville a 4-2 lead after a 2-run bomb by teammate Brock Morrison and two Venus runs in the bottom of the first.
Martin’s home run also drove in Williams, who doubled to begin the second. The Morrison homer plated Martin, who led off the game with one of his three singles.
Williams hit his big shot in the top of the fifth, bringing in Sam Weber and Josh Bulla, who doubled and bunted into a single, respectively. Williams finished 2-for-4 from the dish.
The Jackets also scored on a two-run single by Bradley Morrison that followed Martin’s homer in the second. Alex Jimenez walked and Brock Morrison grounded into a fielder’s choice that failed to produce an out to set up Bradley’s big hit. The junior third baseman was 2-for-3 but reached four times, including a walk and dropped third strike.
Venus trimmed its deficit to 9-5 in the top of the fifth. Anthony Garcia used a single to center to bring in Tyler Foy, who had reached on a single and moved to second on a ground out. Foy had the only home run for Venus, a two-run shot that cut the Stephenville lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth.
Norberg, also drove in the first two runs for Venus, tying the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the first. A two-out single to center by Tanner Foy began the rally, and Tyler Foy kept the inning alive when he reached on a throwing error. Both first-inning runs were unearned.
Seven of the 10 Venus runs came via two-out rallies.
Alex Jimenez went the distance and took the loss on the hill for Stephenville. Head coach James Boxley had a long meeting with Jimenez before Norberg came up to bat but decided to stick with the senior. Of course, no one could have foreseen the wild final at bat.
The teams reached game three by splitting a Friday doubleheader in Granbury. Stephenville won game one, 6-4, and Venus bounced back in game two, 5-2.