As the temperature at Bronco Field dipped and the District 9-3A tiebreaker between Bridgeport and Sanger dragged into the night, Sanger needed a late comeback against the Bulls on Thursday.
Sanger squandered an early lead and for the final two innings of the game faced a two-run deficit to earn the district’s top playoff seed.
Bridgeport’s Reese Read made sure that didn’t happen. Read pitched four scoreless innings of relief and allowed the Bulls to come away with a 6-4 victory over the Indians.
The teams finished the regular season tied atop the District 9-3A standings with district records of 6-2 and needed Thursday’s game to determine playoff seeding. With the win, Bridgeport (23-5) receives a bye in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Sanger (19-10) finishes with the district’s No. 2 seed and will face Frisco Lone Star in the bi-district round of the playoffs, which starts next week. Time and location for the playoff matchup was yet to be determined Thursday night.
“For us, it’s not as much about the bye as much it is avoiding the [No. 4] team in the state, Argyle, until the regional finals,” Sanger coach Steve Ford said. “If we make it a couple of rounds, we’ll face them in the third round.”
Sanger’s Goose Ritzel took the loss in relief. Ritzel came on for starting pitcher Ross Scott, who was pulled in the fourth inning after hitting two consecutive batters.
Read doubled off Ritzel and drove in two runs in the fourth to cut Sanger’s lead to a run. The Bulls finished off the comeback in the fifth with the bottom of their order.
Erik Delgadillo, the No. 9 batter in Bridgeport’s lineup, stepped to the plate and lined a ball down the left field line for a double, driving in two runs to put the Bulls ahead by a run.
Delgadillo later crossed home plate on a single by Alex Samples on the following at-bat.
Sanger led 4-1 after three innings after Connor Martin and Kyle Stephens each had two-run singles.
However, Sanger’s pitching staff combined to hit four batters and walk four on the night.
On the opposing side, Read failed to surrender a hit in his four innings of relief for starter Omar Martinez.
“That hadn’t happened this year,” Ford said of the amount of batters hit. “Maybe it was the intensity of the game. Maybe it was the crowd. Maybe it was … who knows? Maybe it was my lack of preparing them.
“But we’re going to prepare them. We’re going to be ready. We’re not going to do that in the playoffs.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869.
BRIDGEPORT 6, SANGER 4
WP — Reese Read (8-1). LP — Goose Ritzel (5-3). 2B — B: Reese Read, Erik Delgadillo. S: Connor Martin.