Reagan remained calm during an intense fifth inning, scoring all of its runs in a 2-0 victory over Laredo Alexander on Friday night at Wolff Stadium to even the Region IV-5A semifinal series.
The win forced a third and decisive game between the Rattlers (33-6) and Bulldogs (27-3) on Saturday at the Wolff. Alexander won the opener in the best-of-3 series 9-5.
Friday’s game was a pitchers’ duel until emotions became heated in the fifth.
After the Bulldogs stranded a runner following a leadoff single in the top of the frame of a scoreless game, both coaches met with the umpires near home plate.
Whatever was said appeared to agitate members of Alexander. The Bulldogs that were on the field began jogging toward the coaches, and starting pitcher Alan Campero had to be held back by his catcher.
Alexander coach Mario Garcia would not comment on what transpired, but Reagan coach Chans Chapman said the Bulldogs were upset because they believed racial slurs had been directed at them. All of Alexander’s players have Hispanic surnames, but Reagan has just over a half dozen as well.
“There was a lot of talk,” Chapman said. “There was a lot of talking going back and forth with the fans. I think they thought we were hollering some racial slurs, but we weren’t. We don’t play like that. It was just intensity and lot of emotion in the game because it’s a big game.”
Whatever occurred seemed to rattle Campero initially. After limiting the Rattlers to two hits and no runs through four innings, he gave up three hits and two runs in the fifth.
Reagan’s Brian Warhurst led off with a single, and then Campero overran a sacrifice bunt, enabling Andrew Garza to reach base. Zach Morrow followed with a sharp RBI single up the middle.
Drew Brooks singled two outs later driving in Garza, but Morrow was thrown out at home by right fielder Gerardo Ramos to end the inning.
Garcia said the flare up had nothing to do with the rally, instead crediting the Rattlers with strong at-bats against Campero.
“You’ve got to tip your hats to the kids,” Garcia said. “It’s a good team and I don’t think that had anything to do with it. My hat’s off to them, they put the ball in play and their pitcher pitched a great game.”
Reagan’s Troy Montemayor set the side down in order in the final two innings, limiting Alexander to three hits while striking out seven. Original article and image courtesy of San Antonio Express News.