PLEASANTON—The way Hilton Mehrmann calmly walked off the mound in the sixth inning Friday night, one would have no idea the jam from which he had just escaped.
Clinging to a one-run lead, the Pleasanton junior worked his way out of a bases-loaded situation with one out, inducing a ground ball that he tossed to first base for the final out.
“I just had to compete and get the guy out,” the right-handed Mehrmann said. “I know my team had my back, so I just had to throw strikes.”
The Eagles added three insurance runs in the home half, sealing a much-needed 9-5 win over Beeville to snap a five-game losing streak. Pleasanton (12-11 overall) closed the district slate at 3-5 and will await its playoff fate following Tuesday’s final 30-4A games.
“It’s a big relief,” Pleasanton coach Jeff Niemietz said. “The players have endured so much during that five-game skid. This was a crucial game towards our playoff berth, and they responded. It’s a credit to the kids for their hard work, their dedication and believing in each other. It came down to a total team win.”
The teams traded punches late in the game, with the Eagles taking a 6-5 lead following an obstruction call in the fifth.
After leading off with a single, Deryian Martinez was interfered with while rounding third base following a throwing error that placed Cristian Gaytan at second.
A lead-off double and a pair of walks loaded the bases for the Trojans in the next half inning. With one out, Mehrmann maneuvered around the next two batters with a fly ball and grounder.
It was a big boost for a Pleasanton team that struggled defensively during its recent slide.
“They had the heart of their order coming up,” Niemietz said. “Hilton did a tremendous job of trusting his defense, throwing strikes and the defense came up clutch. That was a good momentum-builder for us, and it got us to believe in what we needed to do to win this game.”
Early on, similar defensive problems put the Eagles in a 3-0 hole.
With two outs, consecutive errors in the second gave Beeville a 1-0 edge with runners on the corners. Seth Gomez capitalized with a two-run double to the gap in center field.
Pleasanton chipped away with two runs in the home half before taking its first lead in the fourth.
Trailing 3-2, the Eagles executed a double-steal to tie the game. Aaron Perez followed with an RBI double to put Pleasanton in front 4-3. Derek Delgado’s single to right field made it 5-3.
The Trojans knotted the game with a pair of runs on three hits in the fifth.
Mehrmann picked up the win after a 112-pitch complete game. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
“He’s fearless. The kid is a rock,” Niemietz said of his starter. “He believes in his players behind him, and he doesn’t let the little things faze him. He’s got an aura about himself. He carries himself real well, and he’s very competitive by nature.”
Delgado and Martinez had two hits apiece. Perez was 1 for 2 with two runs and two walks.
Pleasanton will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of District 30-4A. The Eagles will await the winner between Crystal City and Lytle, which play in a seeding tiebreaker Friday night.