Eagles use small ball to outlast rival Poteet
POTEET—For seven innings Monday night, the Pleasanton baseball team could not find a rhythm against Poteet starter Phillip Gonzales. The Eagles finally put things together in extra innings, getting a big boost from some small ball.
Pleasanton utilized two bunt singles and a pair of sacrifices in the final frame to top District 30-4A rival Poteet 3-0 in eight innings at the Aggies’ home diamond.
“They’re buying into the philosophy, because the small ball came from the top of the order,” Eagles coach Jeff Niemietz said. “They executed the small ball, they were able to move runners, and we were able to capitalize with some runs.”
Eagles shortstop Keagan Downs led the eighth with a double to left field and put the game’s first run on the board after back-to-back bunt singles by Aaron Perez and Tyler Gonzales, respectively.
Derek Delgado, who earned the win with a one-hit performance, drove in another run with a single to right field before Hunter Norment’s RBI sac bunt made it 3-0.
Downs squashed a Poteet threat in the final inning with a 6-3 double play after stepping on second and firing to first base. The Aggies reached third base only once, which occurred in the first inning. Poteet left a total of three runners in scoring position.
“We had a couple of opportunities where we had guys on second, and we couldn’t get the hit,” Aggies coach Terry Parsons said. “If we come through on a couple of those, then maybe it goes our way after seven innings.”
Phillip Gonzales took the loss, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits, four of which came in the eighth. He struck out five and walked two.
“You ask kids to come in and give us a chance, and tonight Phillip gave us everything that he had,” Parsons said. “I can’t say enough about his performance tonight. He did great.”
Delgado reached the pitch-count limit after 7.2 innings, and Perez picked up a one-out save. Delgado struck out five and walked five batters.
Poteet remained winless in district at 0-5. The Aggies face Somerset on the road Tuesday with three regular season games remaining.
“The mentality is the same it always is,” Parsons said. “You compete and you don’t give up. That’s a life lesson.”
Pleasanton remains at the top of the 30-4A standings at 4-1. The Eagles head into a clash with Somerset on Thursday night at the Pleasanton ISD Eagle Complex.
“I think the team’s playing great right now,” Downs said. “We’re in a good spot to go to the playoffs, and we’re looking at our first-round opponents. I think we have a good chance to be district champs, playing a four seed and hopefully advancing.”