As Kyle Crawford ran with Hunter Pope once he rounded third and headed for home, all the Abbott coach could think about was how much better this real life moment was than any he’s dreamt about in the past.
The moment Pope’s foot touched home plate, Abbott’s hopes of reaching the state finals in Austin became a reality.
Abbott entered Saturday afternoon’s game in Mesquite with a one game edge over Savoy.
But for most of the second game, Savoy had the edge.
That was until the Pack rallied in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings and walked it off in the ninth to win, 4-3.
“It’s unbelievable,” Crawford said. “When you’re a little kid you think about that moment when you have a chance to walk it off and go to state. That came to life for our kids today. It’s an incredible feeling. We fought, scratched and clawed our way back into that game.”
It seemed like Savoy might force a game three as Abbott was down to three outs facing a 3-1 deficit.
With a runner on first and one out, Brent Mynar doubled to left field to score a run.
Mynar then scored to tie the game off a sacrifice fly to center field by Pope.
In the words of Crawford, “That’s the pack mentality.”
“It’s all about looking out for each other,” he said. “Somebody will step up. We just have to stay true to who we are. We try to play the game the right way. I always tell the guys that if you honor the game, the game will honor you. Today is a product of that. If I’m being honest, we had chances to lose that game. We kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance to win it. I kept telling the guys to just do what you do and stay true to the pack.”
The score remained knotted at three until Pope scored off an error by the Savoy center fielder on a Jared Russell hit.
“I’m extremely proud of our kids,” Crawford said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have today by any means. We came out flat off of graduation (Friday) and competed. I’m excited or them. They put in the work to deserve this.”
While Abbott’s dream of ending its season in Austin is now a reality, China Spring got one step closer with its series win over Bridge City.
Down by one in the winner-take-all third game in Montgomery against Bridge City, Levi Bass stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs.
Bass singled to right center field which scored a pair of runs to give the Cougars a 10-9 walk-off win over Bridge City.
His heroics in game three came after Bridge City used a six-run fifth inning to win, 10-8, and force a game three.
While China Spring and Abbott each picked up series wins on Saturday, Valley Mills’ season ended in the regional semifinals against Lindsay.
Valley Mills dropped its first game against Lindsay, 6-4.
The Eagles won game two in Kennedale on Saturday, 11-0, behind a strong performance on the mound by Garrett Cox.
Cox shut out Lindsay as he allowed just three hits.
Meanwhile, the Valley Mills bats got hot with 11 runs off seven hits with only two strikeouts.
Elijah Degrate and Reid Blackford combined for six RBIs, while Chase Keeton and Logan Klaus each finished with two.
That victory forced a winner-take-all third game later Saturday afternoon.
The game was tied at one entering the seventh inning, until Lindsay scored the go-ahead run in the top of the frame.