Pleasanton’s baseball team fearlessly went after Hondo with big hits and hearty baserunning and defensive plays to shock the Owls in a four-seed over one-seed bi-district upset, winning 9-5 in Floresville on May 2.
“We really did want to set a tone and aggressive baserunning was one of the things that we did. Even though Aaron [Perez] got thrown out at home, that was the tone we were going to set. We were going to come after this game all in. The kids played fantastic for seven innings,” said Pleasanton head coach Jeff Niemietz, who now has two bidistrict titles in his four years at Pleasanton.
Niemietz described it as one of the team’s best offensive games of the season, as the Eagles (11- 15-1) scored nine runs for the fifth time this season.
“It seemed like we got hits in bunches,” he said. “And that’s a credit to the kids’ work ethic.”
Perez lit an early spark with a run-scoring double in the top of the first inning before being tagged out at home.
Keith Cordova hit a tworun single in a three-run second while Pleasanton took a 4-0 lead.
Garrett Lopez showed off his range by making a catch in foul territory to end the second inning after snagging two fly balls in the first inning. He continued his productive night with a two-run double in the third as the Eagles built their lead to 7-0.
“Garrett had a big game. He had a lot of good catches in right field that could have gone either way. He had a fabulous at bat where he turned an 0-2 count into a two-run double,” Niemietz said.
Hilton Mehrmann struck out seven batters lowing five hits and three walks. He responded to big hits by Hondo hitters in the first few innings by striking out the next hitter.
“I don’t really get fazed. I just go on to the next guy,” Mehrmann said.
Mehrmann solved one of the objectives, allowing only two hits and two walks by Hondo’s top four hitters.
“Hondo has a pretty good top half of the order. Hilton did a good job mixing it up by means of his offspeed pitches,” Niemietz said.
Pleasanton will carry its underdog swagger into the area playoff against Hidalgo (14-14), which beat Ingleside 3-1 and 10-0 on May 3 in bi-district after losing the first game 2-1 on May 1.
“We do play with confidence. The kids have a lot of confidence. Our record’s not a reflection of that. We knew we could play with anybody once we developed that consistency and that was proven tonight,’ Niemietz said.
The area playoff in Falfurrias begins May 10 with Game 1 at 7 p.m. Game 2 is May 11 at 2 p.m. Game 3 (if necessary) would be May 11 at 4:30 p.m.
If Pleasanton advances, it would be the Eagles’ first regional quarterfinal appearance in 13 years.
Mehrmann, who now has 85 strikeouts to go with a 7-2 record and a 1.15 ERA in 68 innings pitched, said the team is focused on pushing toward the regional semifinal.
“We knew we had a good shot to win. Our goal is to go at least four rounds. We’re one step there,’ he said.
Hildalgo averages 4.9 runs per game, having scored 10 or more runs five times, and allows five runs per game. Pleasanton also averages 4.9 runs per game and allows six runs per game.