BASEBALL: Dobie Eliminated from Playoffs in 4-3 Loss to Channelview

BASEBALL: Dobie Eliminated from Playoffs in 4-3 Loss to Channelview
Posted on 05/03/2014
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Dobie catcher Adrian Rivera cradles the ball after tagging out Channelview's Ricky Stelzer (17) on a throw from center field by Travarus Ansley in the bottom of the seventh inning that kept the game tied at 3-3. Longhorns reliever Jesse Perades, next to Rivera, heads back to the mound after the play.
7812PEARLAND – Dobie, the surprise baseball champion of District 22-5A, had hoped to extend its stay in the state playoffs on Friday night. But a two-inning extension wasn’t what the Longhorns had in mind.

Channelview’s Andy Montelongo lashed a single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in the winning run in a 4-3 victory for the Falcons over Dobie at Dawson High School.

The single was all Channelview needed to capture the single-game playoff and advance to next week’s area round.

It was a bitter finish for the Longhorns, who had beaten state-ranked Pearland twice during the regular season to capture their first district title in 16 years. As things turned out, Dobie’s demise came at the hands of the No. 4 team in District 21-5A.

In a game of small-ball tactics punctuated by seemingly small mistakes and occasional big breaks, the Longhorns grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning, fell behind in the bottom of the sixth and tied the game in the top of the seventh on a thrilling suicide squeeze bunt by sophomore Isaiah Myers.

In the bottom of the seventh, it took a Herculean throw from center field by Dobie’s Travarus Ansley to keep the game alive. But in the top of the ninth, the Longhorns lost a chance to take the lead when a second suicide squeeze failed.

Channelview wasted no time in the bottom of the ninth.

Mark Chavez led off with a fly-ball single to left that fell into a no-man’s-land. A wild pitch advanced Chavez to second. Montelongo, who produced the Falcons’ first run of the game with a third-inning double, followed with a rope to left-center that easily brought in Chavez with the game-winner.

The Longhorns, who finished the season with a 17-9 record, appeared ready to take command of the game in the first inning.

Starting pitcher Michael Munoz reached on an infield error and moved to second on a bunt base hit by Eric Garza. Jacob Mendoza was hit by a pitch with one out to load the bases and Ruben Guevara drew a walk to force in the first run of the game. A second run scored on an infield grounder by Myers.

The Falcons settled in after that. Montelongo cut the Dobie lead in half with his third-inning double and Channelview erupted to score twice in the sixth to take the lead.

Two walks and a passed ball put Falcons runners on second and third with none out. Munoz battled back for a strikeout and then a second strikeout, but this one with odd consequences. Munoz’s third strike skipped into the dirt, requiring Dobie catcher Adrian Rivera to throw to first. Jessie Aguilar, running at third, beat the return throw to the plate, tying the game.

Seth Campbell, the next batter, hit a topper to the right side that eluded Munoz and went for a scratch single, but just enough of a hit to give Channelview a 3-2 lead.

Dobie did its own bit of scratching in the do-or-die top of the seventh. Ansley led off with walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a walk to Mendoza, Guevara moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

Myers then laid down a perfect squeeze that easily brought Ansley in from third with the tying run.

Ansley left his calling card in the bottom half of the inning, as well. Ricky Stelzer drew a one-out walk off Perades and stole second.  Cesar Martinez followed with a smash to center that Ansley played on one hop. He fired a strike to Rivera to erase Stelzer and preserve the tie.

But Dobie’s good fortune changed course in the top of the ninth. Mendoza reached on an infield hit and stole second. He was on third when the Longhorns again tried a suicide squeeze. This time they misfired and Mendoza was thrown out at the plate.

That left it to Montelongo to settle the matter in the bottom of the ninth.

Dobie's Isaiah Myers (left) lays down a suicide squeeze bunt in the top of the seventh, driving in Travarus Ansley (right) with the run that sent the game to extra innings.

Dobie first baseman Ruben Guevara gets the out on an infielder grounder in the fifth by Channelview's Ricky Stelzer. Longhorns pitcher Michael Munoz pulls up as Guevara hits the bag to end the inning.

Channelview's Jessie Aguilar (20) is called safe at the plate on a bang-bang play in the bottom of the sixth. Aguilar dashed home with the tying run when Dobie catcher Adrian Rivera (9) threw to first to complete a strikeout after a pitch in the dirt. On-deck hitter Seth Campbell leads the cheers for the Falcons.

Dobie Coach Miguel Torres confers with his coaches and base runners in the seventh inning.

Dobie's Jacob Mendoza (top) tries to go up and over Channelview catcher Kris Gonzales while attempting to escape a blown suicide squeeze in the top of the ninth. Gonzales (bottom) applies the tag for the second out of the inning.

Channelview first baseman Seth Campbell applies a late tag on Dobie's Rolando Rocha in the top of the eighth. Rocha stole second and third in the inning, but the Longhorns failed to score.

Dobie pitcher Michael Munoz fires to first to throw out a Channelview runner in the fifth inning.