Reagan gave its emotional coach reason to shed a few more celebratory tears.
A gutsy pitching performance by Troy Montemayor and a head-first diving grab by Zach Morrow provided the lift the Rattlers needed for a 9-3 victory over Laredo Alexander on Saturday night at Wolff Stadium.
Reagan sent 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run third inning, helping it capture the Region IV-5A semifinal series.
“The kids kept fighting, that’s what it’s all about,” Rattlers coach Chans Chapman said, choking up at one point. “We tell them if you go out there and play as hard as you can, I can live with. If we get beat, so be it, but give your best effort.”
Reagan will face Eagle Pass at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Veterans Field in Laredo for the regional title and a berth in the state tournament.
Reagan advanced after rallying from a 9-5 defeat in the opener of the best-of-3 series.
After suffering an emotional 2-0 loss Friday, the Bulldogs started sharply in the finale.
Alexander had three hits in the first inning but scored just one run following a bizarre double play.
With no outs and two on for the Bulldogs, Leyton Leone’s throw to second base on an attempted steal sailed into center field, enabling Gabe Sanchez to score from third. The home plate umpire said Felipe Rodriguez had interfered with Leone’s throw after striking out, however, resulting in Sanchez being called out by rule.
The Bulldogs followed with consecutive singles to drive in a run, but Montemayor struck out the next batter to limit the damage to a single run.
After pitching a complete game victory Friday, Montemayor returned less than 24 hours later to limit Alexander to nine hits over 51/3 innings in picking up his second win of the series. He gave up five hits in the first two innings but held the Bulldogs to one run through three innings with some defensive help.
With a runner at third base and two outs in the third inning, Morrow saved a run with a fully outstretched, head-first diving catch on a shot to right field to preserve a 1-all tie.
Morrow then doubled into right field to open the bottom of the third.
“He made a sensational catch and then he gets a double to start the inning,” Chapman said. “The guy never says a word. He just comes out and goes about his business every day. He’s the ultimate teammate. He did great job.”
Morrow also drove in two runs with a single in the third. Original article courtesy of San Antonio Express News.