Silsbee Ace Powell One-Hits Hobbled Hornets in 11-1 WinSports Monday, May 26th, 2014
By DAVID CAMPBELL
NEW CANEY — The Caldwell Hornets faced adversity before their first pitch.
Then, they faced Tyler Powell. It was not an improvement,
Powell, Silsbee’s senior right-hander, allowed one hit in a run-ruled 11-1 win over Caldwell to propel the Tigers back to the Class 3A Region III final.
“I felt good going in but I got tired about the middle of the way, but I knew with my team that we could push through it and make plays,” said Powell, who has seen limited pitching opportunities this season because of an elbow injury. “I’m about 95 percent. I’m not really in shape yet, but I can pitch with no pain and it feels good.”
Chase Partain had two hits and Jordan Gore stroked an RBI triple in a six-run fourth inning, when Silsbee gained its 10-run advantage. Powell had two strikeouts and got a popup to close out the win in the fifth inning.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Caldwell coach Louie Luna said of his Hornets, who finished their season with a 27-7 record. “We moved some guys around and they competed. We just fell short today.”
Caldwell had to shuffle its lineup because of illness.
Dylan Drgac started on the mound for the Hornets, who were without Jake Payonk, who had been slated to catch Drgac, Caldwell’s usual catcher. Payonk has a recurring inner-ear problem that causes him to feel symptoms of vertigo every 90 days. Payonk had been sick, but had received fluids and was at the game hoping to play. He was unable to do so.
“He got sick and he was in the emergency room,” Luna said. “They gave him IVs trying to see if that would help, but he came out today and he couldn’t go. We put my son [Tanner Luna] back there behind the plate and he hasn’t caught probably since he was 12 or 13 years old. We did the best we could. That’s not an excuse. Those guys, they beat us today.”
The makeshift battery caused both Drgac and Luna to struggle. After three innings, Drgac returned to catcher and Tyler Sandner pitched.
“If Dylan could have given us seven, that would have been the icing on the cake,” Louie Luna said. “We were hoping to get three or four from him. Dylan fought and competed. We had some kids out of position, but they did the best they could, and I take my hat off to Silsbee, because they played well.”
Powell, who threw two shutout innings in the series opener, had an extended absence from mound work this season because of tendinitis, an injury that required rest. He had gone 12-2, with one of those losses at the state tournament, last season.
“It was more of a good setup because I had faced them a little bit,” said Powell of his second game to pitch against Caldwell. “I had played on the mound, so I knew coming in that I had the advantage and I think it showed today. You can’t feel sorry for them. We had to come take what’s ours and I think we did that. We hit the ball just as well as we did in the first game.”
The victory sends the defending Region III champion Silsbee Tigers (24-7-1) into a regional final against College Station. Caldwell’s season ended with a 25-7 record.
“They’re a good team,” Luna said. “These kids at Caldwell fought year in and year out for the last four years and I couldn’t be prouder of them. It just didn’t work out today.”
The Hornets got their only hit and only run in the second inning. Luke Noack reached on an error and scored on one with Aiden Hosea getting the only hit. Hosea started in centerfield this series because Tristsen Janca broke his toe while pushing off first base late in the regional quarterfinal win over Carthage. Hosea hit a soft grounder between the mound and shortstop and outran Gore’s throw to reach base.
Powell then got swinging third strikes from Drgac and Landon Couch, stranding Hosea at third.
Drgac struck out three in the third, when Kris Elers had the only hit, but one of two runs scored when Harman fanned, but the ball got away from Luna back to the wall.
Silsbee never trailed, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Chris Nesbitt, who had been hit by a pitch, scored on a Gore groundout. Colby Leblanc scored on Powell’s sacrifice fly, and deep drive to center.
Silsbee first baseman Brayden Griffin had a double and a single and was hit by a pitch. He scored three runs. Designated hitter Matthew Hartman, who pitched a three-hitter in Silsbee’s 2-0 loss Friday, singled to score Griffin in the second. Both had hard-hit shots down the left field line.
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