While experiencing more than their share of early season bumps through the season’s first few weeks, the Alvin Yellowjackets managed to put those frustrations behind them with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Deer Park here, Monday night.
Jayden Rodriguez capped a four-run late rally for Alvin with a go-ahead two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning and Easton Winfield slammed the door shut on a Deer comeback bid with two solid innings in relief, as the Jackets edged Deer Park in a 6-5 nailbiter at Nolan Ryan Field.
The victory was the third in the last five games for Alvin (3-7-1) who initially broke into the win column the previous weekend at the Barbers Hill Tournament with wins over Deer Park and Barbers Hill.
“Man, that was clutch,” Jackets’ head coach Kelly Kerlin said following the game. “I’ve been waiting to see that from day one. Clutch hitting, getting guys into scoring position and driving them in.”
With Alvin trailing 4-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, Boston Lee started the rally with a sharp single to center field off starter Brayden Gilley. Deer head coach Chris Rupp brought in reliever Brian Porter, who retired Zane Bailey on a grounder to second, but Julian Cantu smacked a run-scoring double to the gap in center to cut the margin to 4-3.
After Jack Marek’s bloop single advanced Cantu to third base, Porter fanned Grady Tinker for the second out. However, pinch hitter Peyton Kitchens grounded a clutch double past a diving Zaiden Kiefer at third base to plate Cantu with the tying tally and also move Marek over to third.
Rupp then elected to intentionally walk Winfield to load the bases, but Rodriguez immediately made the Deer pay by grounding a first-pitch single into left field to score both Marek and Ryan Partida for a 6-4 Alvin lead.
Andrew Ramos helped Deer Park close within 6-5 in the seventh with a sacrifice fly, but Winfield whiffed Tristan Patterson for the game’s final out with Dillon Mancha left standing on second base as the game’s tying run.
“We told him, Jayden’s here your chance,” Kerlin said. “It’s kind of a slap in the face when they walk a guy to face you. He stepped up big and that’s good for the Yellowjackets. I was glad to see that.
“Bailey pitched well. Kolin (Swindall)had a little rough spot and Winfield came in and slam the door shut. That’s kind of his role from here on out. That’s how you draw it up also with the big clutch pinch hit. That’s fun baseball to see.”
The fun department featured a pair of key defensive plays for Alvin as well. Cantu threw out Mancha trying to score from second on a Patterson’s single to left with a perfect one-hop fling to Tinker at the plate in the second, while first baseman Cooper Williams snared a liner off Kiefer’s bat in the fourth and stepped on the bag for an inning ending unassisted double play with a pair of runners on.
Willams also drove in the game’s first tally, plating Winfield with an opposite double in the first. Deer Park then tied it in the third on Ronald Rosario’s sacrifice fly in the third.
After Alvin regained the upper hand at 2-1 in the fourth on Bailey’s sacrifice fly, the Deer struck for a three-run fifth, taking advantage of a walk, a hit-by-pitch, wild pitch and balk along the way.
The Jackets next compete at the Alvin ISD Tournament this weekend and open 23-6A play during Spring Break at Alief Taylor on March 14 at 1 p.m..
In other area baseball action, the Manvel Mavericks captured a 5-2 victory over Houston Westside, Tuesday at home.
Stephen Lewis struck out nine and allowed only two hits in six innings of work, while Dylan Martinez’s two-run single in the bottom of the sixth supplied the right-hander with insurance tallies. Cristian Lara and Gabriel Roberts also drove in runs for Manvel (9-2) in the contest and Byron Roberts provided a double.
The Mavs next compete in the Fort Bend Tournament this weekend.
Iowa Colony rolled to a 16-6 home win over Willowridge on Monday. Jonny Trevino went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI’s and Cayden Aguilar picked up the win on the mound with five K’s in three innings.
The Pioneers (4-4) next compete at the Boiling Tournament this weekend and then open 26-4A play by hosting Bay City, March 14.
Shadow Creek dropped a 12-0 decision to Clear Creek and will next compete in the AISD Tourney this weekend.
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