ROUND ROCK — It took a little longer than expected, but the Beckville Bearcats are bringing a state championship back to East Texas.

Beckville won its first-ever title when Clayton Burnett scored on a fielding error in the 10th inning, a 5-4 victory over Clifton for the 3A championship Saturday in front of 1,508 fans at Dell Diamond.

“It’s something we’ve been fighting for, for four years now,” said Beckville coach Jason Causey. “I couldn’t be more proud for my guys to go out this way, I can’t tell you enough about the quality of young men I have. They deserve all the credit, I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”

Beckville (36-4) scored the game-tying run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and escaped a bases-loaded situation in the top of the 10th.

“Both teams played great, but our team, we’re a family, we don’t give up, we fight for each other no matter what,” said Beckville senior Brandt Harris, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after driving in two runs.

It was a game full of missed opportunities for Clifton (30-7-1). Beckville pitchers issued 10 walks, but the Cubs ended up stranding 14 baserunners.

It was the perfect send-off for Beckville’s 10 seniors.

“Next to the birth of my children and my marriage this is probably the most special thing I’ve ever experienced,” Causey said. “And it’s even better getting to experience it with (my seniors), they’re awesome.”

Ty Jones led off the 10th with a double, and back-to-back intentional walks loaded the bases full of Bearcats with no one out.

Clifton shortstop Carter Guinn then made a diving stop on a ground ball off the bat of Harris, and fired home to get the force out at the plate for the first out.

That set the stage for Zeke Collins, whose grounder slid underneath the glove of Clifton third baseman Alfredo Rodriguez, allowing the championship-winning run to score.

“We’ve been in these type of situations, we just never give up, man,” Causey said. “We’ve gotta fight, survive, do whatever it takes to keep moving on.”

Clifton starting pitcher Mason Brandenberger retired the first two Beckville batters with his team leading 4-3 in the seventh.

Michael Mize followed with a single, and then Ben Bridges hit a grounder off the glove of Rodriguez at third. The ball caromed down the line in left, which allowed Mize to score the tying run from first.

“We had to scratch to get a run (in the seventh inning) to extend our season,” Causey said. “We were fortunate enough to be able to do that and get their guy off the mound because he did a really good job today. Once we got him out of the game we felt like maybe we could do a little bit more offensively.”

Austin Bryan (6-0), who came on in relief in the seventh inning, tossed four shutout innings. He was the third pitcher Beckville used in relief of starter Ethan Harris, who lasted one batter into the third.

“We come in here and everybody says, ‘you’ve got only got 12 guys,’” Causey said. “Well that’s what I got. Guys are able to play multiple positions and you saw that today. One of the strengths of our ballclub has also been our depth on the mound.

“Ethan wasn’t himself today and I recognized that early, and I trust all those guys (in relief). It was just the next man in line, and I had another guy ready if we didn’t score (in the 10th). I’m just really proud of them.”

Clifton took a 4-3 lead with two outs in the sixth when Hunter Ringo beat out an infield single with runners at second and third. Cubs’ trailing runner Riley Perry came all the way around from second for the go-ahead run.

That two-run inning followed Beckville’s four-run third. Bryce Osborn drew a bases-loaded walk, and Brandt Harris’ two-run single gave Beckville the 3-2 lead.

Clifton scored runs in the second and third inning on RBI singles by Fisher Pitts and Edgar Rodriguez.

Beckville 5, Clifton 4 (10 innings)

Class 3A State Championship
At Dell Diamond, Round Rock

Clifton              011    002    000    0    —    4    7    5
Beckville          000    300    100    1    —    5    7    3

Pitchers and catchers

  • Clifton: Mason Brandenberger, Edgar Rodriguez (7) and Riley Perry.
  • Beckville: Ethan Harris, Bryce Osborn (3), Zeke Collins (5), Austin Bryan (7) and Ben Bridges.

WP — Bryan (6-0).
LP — Rodriguez (8-3).

Doubles

  • Beckville: Ty Jones