HOUSTON – Santa Fe was the team that refused to die Saturday, coming from behind in Games 2 and 3 to advance past Tomball in the second round of the Region III-4A baseball playoffs.
The 6-5 and 4-3 wins by the Indians produced a stunning early exit for the defending state champion Cougars.
Santa Fe earned a region quarterfinal berth next week against 24-4A rival Friends-
Facing elimination after dropping Friday’s opening game of the series, Santa Fe overcame a 5-1 deficit in Saturday’s opening contest with four runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
The Indians faced more dire circumstances in the deciding game when Tomball broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the top of the seventh.
Needing one final bit of heroics to finish things off, Santa Fe got just that with a two-run home run by David Reyna.
“We never gave up,” Reyna said. “We wanted to keep playing.”
Tomball grabbed an early lead with two runs in the first inning.
Santa Fe battled back, using a run-scoring single from Tyler Hockenbury in the fourth and Timothy Johnson’s sixth-inning solo home run to knot things up.
Stephen Bonnain’s two-out single gave Tomball a 3-2 lead in the seventh. That left Santa Fe with a one-run deficit and the bottom three hitters in their order coming up.
Aaron Theut drew a one-out walk, bringing the Indians’ No. 9 hitter to the plate. Reyna came through with a second hit of the contest, a line drive shot that disappeared behind the wall down the left field line.
“I told them (in the bottom of the seventh) that we needed base runners,” Indians coach Ronnie Wulf said. “David was hitting the ball pretty well early in the year. He did what he had to do.”
Preston Plovanich gave Santa Fe a quick one-run lead in Saturday’s first game by blasting the second pitch of the day over the left field fence.
Tomball was quick to respond, scoring four runs in the third and one in the fourth to mount a 5-1 lead. Cougars starter Casey Smith held the Indians bats in check before running into trouble in the fifth.
Brandon Holder and Johnson reached base to set up a one-out RBI double from Jordan Gunter.
Tyler Hockenbury drove in a run with a ground ball and Yadir Muniz tied the contest with a two-run home run.
Reyna opened the sixth with a double and ended up scoring on a Tomball error to give the Indians the eventual winning run.