Hallsville’s Historic Season Comes to End With 9-1 Semifinal Loss to Aledo
ROUND ROCK -- Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell summed it up pretty well: "It was just one of those days."
That was the diagnosis after the greatest baseball season in school history came to an abrupt end with a 9-1 loss to Aledo on Thursday night in the Class 4A state semifinals at Dell Diamond.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Mitchell made sure to remind his players what they were able to accomplish this season.
"These guys have done something special for our community and our school and for each other," he said. "And I just love them to death. Our goal was to try to win a state championship, and we talked about whatever happens, happens and it's meant to be. But these guys believe now that when they believe in something and they believe in it with all their heart … that great things can happen."
Hallsville (34-5), whose four previous losses came by a grand total of four runs, allowed Aledo (33-6-2) to score in each of the last five innings. The Bearcats will play Victoria East at 7 p.m. Friday for the 4A state championship.
The career of Hallsville senior pitcher Connor Reich, a TCU signee, may have ended roughly. But he left an indelible mark on baseball in Hallsville and East Texas.
"He's given us four unbelievable years as our No. 1, and you don't get that very often at a 4A school where a kid comes in as a freshman and becomes your No. 1," Mitchell said of Reich. "I've never coached another kid that competes like he does, and his future is incredibly bright. TCU is getting a great player and I hope they realize that."
Reich (11-2) allowed six runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts, four walks and three hit batters in 4 1/3 innings.
"They kinda got going as they got runners on base, and started getting more confidence at the plate," Mitchell said of Aledo. "We kinda struggled down in the count and they started sitting on the fastball, which we had to start throwing a little more of. They're a great team and they're here for a reason and it was their night."
Aledo pitcher Chris Reed (11-2), after allowing a first-inning run, settled down and pitched seven solid innings for the win. He struck out seven, walked one, allowed six hits and needed only 87 pitches to get through the game.
Dakota Durant was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs to lead the Bearcats at the plate. Tyson Mauser drove in two runs, while Wade Raburn, Connor Duer and Zane Scott all had two hits apiece.
Hallsville got off to the 1-0 lead on Austin Blakeley's two-out RBI double down the left field line, scoring Dionte Johnson, who was running for Reich.
But it was all Aledo after that as the Bearcats came up with all nine runs with two outs.
Durant's two-run double in the top of the third put Aledo up for good, 2-1. Mauser's RBI single in the fourth stretched the lead to two runs before Hallsville came unraveled in the fifth.
Reich hit three batters and walked two in the inning, allowing the Bearcats to open up a 6-1 lead after five innings. With the bases loaded and two outs, Taco Anderson drew a walk and Hershel Gardner was hit by a pitch, which chased Reich from the game. Scott greeted reliever Logan Bailey with an RBI infield single to push the lead to five.
Duer's run-scoring single in the sixth made it 7-1, and a Mauser sacrifice fly and Durant's bases-loaded walk in the seventh capped the scoring.
Hallsville, which graduates only three seniors, should be considered a favorite to reach the state tournament next season as well.
"What a great experience for them," Mitchell said of Hallsville's underclassmen. "We graduate three seniors, so hopefully (the underclassmen) get a taste of it this year and come back with a hunger, a dedication to work even harder to get one more game further than we did this year."
Aledo 9, Hallsville 1
Class 4A State Semifinal
At Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Aledo 002 131 2 -- 9 10 0
Hallsville 100 000 0 -- 1 6 1
Pitchers and catchers
- Aledo: Chris Reed and Zayne Willems.
- Hallsville: Connor Reich, Logan Bailey (5), Coby Weaver (7), Colton Brasher (7) and Nathan Bailey.
WP -- Reed (11-2).
LP -- Reich (11-2).
- Aledo: Dakota Durant.
- Hallsville: Austin Blakeley, Logan Bailey.