Hard-Hitting Hallettsville Denies Hughes Springs 2A State Championship With 4-2 Win
ROUND ROCK -- Hughes Springs may have been the best team all season long, but Hallettsville was the best at the Class 2A state tournament.
A night after torching Salado for 16 runs and 13 hits in a five-inning semifinal win, the Hallettsville offense continued its hot-hitting ways Thursday and the Brahmas rode their bats to the state championship.
Hallettsville (35-3) racked up 11 hits in a 4-2 win over Hughes Springs in the 2A final Thursday afternoon at Dell Diamond.
"That's a hot ball club over there … (24) hits in two games, that'll be some kinda state record," said Hughes Springs coach Kent Craig. "They hit the No. 1 and No. 2 team's (Salado) pitching really good. At some point, you've gotta say, 'hey, maybe they're the No. 1 team.' They've only lost three games all year long for a reason."
And when Hallettsville wasn't applying pressure on the basepaths, senior pitcher Reagan McAda (10-0) was doing a number on a potent Hughes Springs (36-2) lineup. McAda allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five in seven innings, and went 2-for-3 at the plate to earn championship game MVP honors.
"They're well-coached, had great approaches at the plate and their pitcher did a good job of challenging us, mixing things up and doing things along those lines," Craig said. "At some point, you've got to tip your hat to them."
Senior Zach Bassham (13-1) suffered his first loss of the season. He allowed three earned runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts and no walks in six innings.
"He pitched OK, he didn't pitch great," Craig said of Bassham. "And I think if you asked him, he probably would have said the same thing. Again, that's a very good hitting ball club. Bass missed some locations a few times, but for the most part he was good today. You can't ask more from him; he went out there and competed and gave us a chance to win, and that's all starting pitchers are supposed to do."
Will Wallace was 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Justin Reeves collected two hits to pace Hallettsville at the plate.
Hallettsville broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. McAda led off with a single, and that was followed by Wallace's double which put runners at second and third with nobody out. Nate Kowalik singled in the go-ahead run, and Wallace crossed home on a 4-6-3 double play.
Hughes Springs blew a golden opportunity in the top of the first when the Mustangs loaded the bases with one out. McAda regrouped and got Bassham to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Hallettsville wasted little time in taking a lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring on a Wallace RBI single and a fielding error for a 2-0 lead.
The Mustangs fought back to even the game in the fourth, scoring on RBI singles from Josh Anton and Hunter Smith.
"That's kinda been our M.O., kinda hanging around and then we get you," Craig said. "The second time through the lineup, it's tough to get us. I'd love to play them two out of three, but you don't get that shot here."
Hughes Springs had one more scoring threat in the sixth, trailing 4-2. Papa Chism and Smith singled with two outs, but Cody Hawkins flew out to end the inning.
"We had opportunities there in the first; we had the bases loaded there," Craig said. "In the sixth, we had a chance to punch some runs across, but we didn't get it done. And in a game like this, you only get 21 outs. If you don't take advantage of it, it'll come back to haunt you."
Hughes Springs will leave Round Rock state finalists for the second time after a runner-up finish at the 2006 state tournament.
"You're the winningest team in Hughes Springs history," Craig said in reflection. "There's a lot of stinkin' baseball teams in 2A, and to be the second best it's kinda like kissing your sister. But at some point, you sit back and look at it and it'll mean a little more. I think it's one thing if you get beat by a team that you know you should've beaten, but that's a good baseball team over there. I would've loved to have won it, don't get me wrong and that's going to be our goal again next year. Today, they were just a little bit better than us."
Hallettsville 4, Hughes Springs 2
Class 2A State Final
Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Hughes Springs 000 200 0 -- 2 5 1
Hallettsville 200 020 x -- 4 11 4
Hughes Springs: Zach Bassham and Chad McKinney. Hallettsville: Reagan McAda and Dyllan Kerr.
WP -- McAda (10-0).
LP -- Bassham (13-1).
2B -- Hallettsville: Will Wallace.
Records -- Hughes Springs: 36-2. Hallettsville: 35-3.
Attendance -- 1,217.