Reagan Rattlers Varsity Baseball Dehorns The New Braunfels Unicorns In 4-2 Victory, Advancing To The Regional Semifinals

May 19, 2024

The Rattlers’ cohesiveness as a team was on display as they battled to victory with impeccable pitching and patiently waited for their opportunity to score. In the sweltering heat, the energy at Diz Reeves Diamond at SAISD Sports Complex was electric with emotions sky-high on both sides. Starting pitcher, Caleb Crider, was a beast on the mound for Reagan. With runners on first and second and 1 out in the bottom of the first, Crider struck out the next batter in 4 pitches then struck out the following batter for the third out, leaving runners stranded in scoring position. Crider was extremely effective, painting the corners of the strike zone and rarely giving anything down the middle to the historically, high-scoring lineup of the Unicorns. Crider persevered on the mound, pitching into outs when the Unicorns gained any sort of momentum, and striking out 6 with skillful ball placement. Crider went 5.2 innings, walking 4 and giving up 4 hits and 1 earned run. Cody Pictrowski came in for relief in the bottom of the 6th and demonstrated why he is a diamond in the rough. Pictrowski entered with bases loaded and 2 outs. With nerves in check, Pictrowski pitched into a fielder’s choice that was fielded by Jeter Battles at SS to Crider at third base. Battles came through with an incredible get, fielding a difficult ground ball and completing the throw while falling off toward left centerfield. Pictrowski started the bottom of the 7th pitching into a line out to Michael Yzaguirre in CF. With runners on first and second, the Rattlers allowed the bases to be loaded on an error, but Pictrowski exhibited grace under pressure when some pitchers would have unraveled. The next batter singled to LF, scoring 1 run, and bringing the score to 4-2. Pictrowski held his composure and struck out the next batter for out #2, bringing the Rattler fans to their feet.  With 2 strikes swinging, the last batter popped up to Battles at SS for the final out. The Reagan bench erupted from the dugout, celebrating on the field and the fans jumped up and down yelling with joyful exuberance. Pictrowki earned the save, striking out 1, walking 1, and giving up 2 hits and 1 run (0 earned) in his 1.1 innings pitched.

The Rattlers’ offense struggled at the plate but scratched and clawed their way to add runs to the board. Karsten Holman and Battles were the only Rattlers with hits until the 5th inning in which the Rattlers scored all of their 4 runs. Reagan mounted a 2-out rally with Crider drawing a walk, Caden Roy singling on a ground ball to RF, Battles drawing a walk, and Javi Cuevas getting hit by a pitch, scoring courtesy runner, Mathew Butler. The rattled Unicorns’ pitcher hit Caden Crofts, scoring pinch runner Aiden Mlynek, and keeping the bases loaded. The Rattlers brought the score to 4-1 when they capitalized on the high-stress situation as Isaiah Robledo hit into a fielder’s choice to SS, scoring Battles, and then Cuevas scored on an errant throw to third base. Cuevas had the only Rattler hit in the 7th inning with a gorgeous bunt to the second baseman, leaving no chance for a defensive play.

Defensively, the Rattlers were nearly flawless with the infield getting more action than the outfield. In the infield, Battles had 4 put-outs at SS, Cuevas had 2 at 2B, Crider had 1 at pitcher, and Roy had 1 at 3B. With 1 out in the 5th, Roy and Cuevas shut down the Unicorns by turning a beautiful double play from Roy at third to Cuevas at second to Robledo at first. Yzaguirre recorded some amazing outs on the run in CF with 3 put-outs. Tre Weaver collected one in RF, and Crofts collected 1 in LF.

The Rattlers take on the O’Connor Panthers in round 4 of the playoffs on Thursday, May 23 at NISD Field #2 (7001 Culebra Rd) at 7 pm and again on Friday, May 24 at North East Sports Park at 7 pm.