PASADENA – The O’Connell baseball team is heading to the playoffs.
The Buccaneers exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first inning Monday and held off a rally by Conroe Covenant Christian to secure an 8-4 win in a play-in game for the fourth and final playoff berth from TAPPS District 6-3A.
O’Connell will make the long road trip to face homestanding New Braunfels Christian Adacemy at 7 p.m. Monday in the opening round of the TAPPS postseason.
The Buccaneers went 7-9 in an abbreviated regular season, posting a 3-6 district record and finishing in a tie for fourth place with Covenant Christian.
Those squads split their season series, each winning at home, and O’Connell reached the play-in showdown with back-to-back district wins to finish league play.
In the play-in game, the Buccaneers crossed the plate four times in the opening inning, with two runs scoring on a double by Chris Saracco.
Covenant Christian pulled within two runs, 6-4, after the fourth, but O’Connell plated two more runs for some breathing room in the sixth to hold on for the victory.
Freshman Gavin Harris went 2-for-3 with a triple and drove in a run for the Buccaneers, and teammate Blake Chapman went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI.
Chapman, the team’s No. 1 pitcher who started the last two games, took the mound in relief, lasting the final 32/3 innings.
He gave up one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Justin Viernes started the game and picked up the win in 31/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on two hits with seven strikeouts.
It was Viernes’ first time pitching in more than five weeks after an injury.
At the plate, Viernes tripled, drew two walks and had one RBI.