ROBINSON – Bryan Kent paused as he tried to decide.
With the 6-2 win over Gatesville Tuesday night, the Robinson Rockets had just become undefeated district champions, and he couldn’t figure out which one sounded better – undefeated or district champions.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” the Robinson coach said. “Probably just being district champs. We come into the season with a goal of winning district and then advancing from there. To accomplish your first goal is special for these guys and something that nobody can take away from them.”
While the victory was memorable in terms of wins and losses, it was also special in terms of personnel.
Tuesday night was Senior Night, and they all started in Robinson’s district finale against Gatesville.
“You’ve got guys who have been through the program for four years and you develop relationships and close bonds and a lot of memories,” Kent said. “We know that sooner or later it’s going to come to an end but we’re just trying to enjoy it while we can.”
When it came to the game itself, Kent said afterwards that the Rockets have played better.
Robinson would have trailed through the first half of the game had the Rockets not made some big plays defensively.
In the first inning, Gatesville had a runner on first with two outs.
Billy Latham hit a ball that landed in the sweet spot just between – and out of reach – of the Robinson second baseman and outfielder.
As Chandler Kramer came over to pick up the ball, the Gatesville baserunner had rounded third and was headed for home.
But he had no chance as Kramer gunned him down at the plate to end the inning.
The Hornets were thrown out at the plate the following inning.
This time, Colton Washburn was on first when Tyler Lewis hit a grounder that just stayed fair down the third base line.
By the time Drew Tineo got to the ball, Washburn had his foot on third base.
Tineo hit his cutoff man who pegged Peyton Powell in the chest and tagged Washburn before he had much of a chance to slide.
These defensive plays allowed Robinson to take a 1-0 lead through the first two innings.
Mason Cooper led things off for the Rockets with a single and was later hit home off a groundout by Dru Dziedzic.
Robinson added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth in an inning that started out with some successful small ball.
Kramer led things as he beat out a bunt right in front of the plate before Jace Walker advanced him to third off a sacrifice bunt of his own.
Jake Strain then hit Kramer home with an RBI single and crossed the plate himself a batter later off an RBI double by Cooper.
Powell followed with what appeared to be a triple to deep right field. Cooper crossed the plate but Powell was thrown out at third.
Gatesville got on the board in the top off the fifth as Zack Mueller led things off by reaching first as Andrew Nering overthrew first base.
Mueller later scored off an RBI single by Jared Butler.
But Nering fought back as he struck out Derrick Bayer looking with runners on the corners and then sat Washburn down with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Robinson added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth as Dziedzic was walked with the bases loaded to score Walker, and Braxton Ashcraft hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Cooper.
Gatesville answered with a run in the top of the seventh off an RBI double by Chase Mundkowski, but the Hornets couldn’t do much else as a trio of strikeouts ended the game.
With the regular season now wrapped up and the playoffs on the horizon, Robinson isn’t settling for merely checking off one item off their list of goals for the season.
Behind this year’s senior class, these Rockets are looking for more.
“Sometimes it’s hard when you go through the course of the season because it becomes a grind,” Kent said. “The seniors have taken charge and brought a new energy to us. It’s good for them because this is a season they’ll never forget.”