JOURDANTON—With its season on the line, Jourdanton called upon freshman Colton Schuchart to take the mound Saturday against Lago Vista.
The lanky left-hander admitted he was a bit nervous going into the contest, which can be expected of the starter in a one-game playoff, especially given his age.
Despite the nerves and the gravity of the situation, Schuchart pitched a gem as the Indians rallied for two runs in the seventh to take a 3-2 bi-district win at the Jourdanton ISD Sports Complex.
“As the season’s progressed, [Schuchart] has gotten better and better,” Indians coach Tim Bertholf said. “I had a lot of confidence in him today.”
Schuchart allowed one earned run on three hits, striking out six. He spoiled a strong outing by Vikings starter Tyler Emanuel, who had eight strikeouts and did not give up an earned run. Emanuel allowed four hits and two walks but was hurt most by four Lago Vista errors.
The Vikings’ final error allowed the tying run to reach third base. Jourdanton, playing as the visitors, trailed 2-1 when Schuchart led off the seventh by reaching on a dropped third strike. The freshman showed his speed during the next at-bat, racing to third after a throwing error sent the ball into right field.
Jemareon Moore, who scored the game’s first run on a second-inning Vikings error, followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.
“The coaches are always harping us on being ‘the man’ when we come up to bat, especially in an inning like that,” Moore said. “The pitch I saw was straight down the pipe, and I knew I just had to make contact with it.”
With two outs and the go-ahead run at third, nine-hole hitter Michael Klumb laced a grounder up the middle for a 3-2 Indians lead. His teammates were not surprised the senior came through in the big moment.
“Michael, that’s a clutch man,” Moore said. “Basketball, any other sport he plays, he knows how to be clutch. And he was clutch for us in that moment. I knew he was going to get that done for us.”
Klumb’s infield single was Jourdanton’s first hit since the second inning. Emanuel had retired 10 of 11 batters in order entering the last frame.
“I challenged them when they came in to hit in the seventh,” Bertholf said. “I said, ‘Make it interesting.’ And they did. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Lago Vista scored both of its runs in the third. Brayden Clark, who ripped a double to left field, put the Vikings on the board after scoring on consecutive passed balls. Lago Vista took its first lead, 2-1, when a throwing error on a steal attempt allowed Layne Powers to score from third.
The Vikings threatened again in the next inning, loading the bases with two outs. The situation prompted a mound visit by Bertholf, which appeared to ease his freshman hurler.
“His body language was a little questionable, and I kind of got on him about it,” Bertholf said. “He buckled down and got it done.”
Third baseman Max Talamantez made a diving catch to get Jourdanton out of the jam, and Schuchart took control after that. He finished the game with three hitless innings, the only baserunner coming on a leadoff walk in the seventh. The freshman issued six walks and hit two batters on the afternoon.
Zane Callan, who drew the last walk, made it to third base before a 6-3 putout punched the Indians’ ticket to the next round. Schuchart was sure to credit his defense, naming each fielder when reliving the performance.
“It feels great,” he said. “We have a great group of guys, great leadership. Especially the seniors. We’re just ready for round two.”
Jourdanton next will face Hallettsville in a three-game series. The Brahmas, bi-district winners over Palacios, are ranked fifth in the latest Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association poll.
Game 1 will be at 7 p.m. Friday, and the series will conclude Saturday. Game 2 is set for 4 p.m., and a third game will be played after, if necessary. All games will be at New Braunfels Canyon.
“This win’s big for the program,” Bertholf said. “This week we’ll take it day by day. If we play the way we played today, we’re going to compete with whoever we face. I’ve got a lot of confidence in that.”