AUBREY — There was no hiding the Sanger Indians’ dominance Saturday afternoon in their Class 3A Region II bi-district playoff game against Aubrey, except for the ol’ hidden ball trick.
Not that the Indians needed any trickery. They smacked out 16 hits for everyone to see on their way to a 16-3 win over Aubrey in five innings to complete a two-game sweep of the first-round playoff series. They pulled off the hidden ball trick and twice had batters hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Sanger (22-6), which won Game 1 by an 11-1 margin, also in five innings, advances to the area round against Bonham, which defeated Wilmer-Hutchins 20-0 in a one-game playoff. The series is tentatively set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Prosper, with Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We pulled out everything we could because we wanted to get this over in two,” Sanger coach Steve Ford said. “It was good to see our kids keep their focus and keep the barrel on the bat. There are high expectations on this team. I hope this all carries over.”
Sanger simply had too much of everything, scoring runs in every inning, while starter Logan Looper and reliever Garrett McLead combined to allow five hits while striking out four and issuing no walks. The pitchers combined to retire 12 batters in a row.
The Indians had plenty of heroes at the plate. Ted Wisdom was 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, Anthony Escobedo was 3-for-3 with four RBIs, Austen Lange was 3-for-4 with two doubles and Halen Frazier drove in three runs.
Sanger struck quickly. With Frazier on board and one out in the first, Wisdom doubled. Frazier was forced out at home on a Wilding Smith grounder, and Lange lifted a run-scoring single to right. Smith and Lange executed a double steal, and Kyle Link followed with an RBI single to left, giving Sanger a 2-0 lead.
Aubrey countered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 advantage. Cole Cannon singled and scored on Connor Torbert’s triple to the right-center gap. Kylan Doucet followed with a run-scoring single that took a bad hop on Wisdom at shortstop. Cole Bovre reached on a fielder’s choice as Doucet was safe at second when second baseman Chance Cockrell dropped what would have been a force out. Noah Vaughn kept the rally going with an RBI double to left. Sanger got out of inning with a groundout and strikeout, stranding two runners.
The Indians regained the lead, 5-3, in the top of the second and increased their lead to 8-3 in the third.
Sanger used the hidden ball trick to get an out in the bottom of the third. Doucet reached on a two-base throwing error but did not see Wisdom keep the ball and was tagged out when he stepped off the bag.
Sanger then put the game away in the fourth, forcing two pitching changes and scoring five runs on two hits for a 10-run lead. The Indians added three in the fifth.
The Chaparrals will lose only four senior starters but also are losing head coach Daryl Hellman as part of coaching and athletic director changes at the school.
“It never feels good when the season ends,” said Hellman, who served as athletic director (12 years), football coach (seven) and baseball coach (three) at Aubrey. “This is a great bunch of guys, and I was happy for the seniors to be in the playoffs. The underclassmen have a chance to get better and come back next season.”
Sanger 16, Aubrey 3 (5)
WP — Logan Looper. L — Noah Vaughn. 3B—A: Connor Torbert. 2B — S: Ted Wisdom, TJ Self, Austen Lange (2) ; A: Noah Vaughn