AP NEWS

Gonzales, Texans open their PISD competition with 4-2 win over Trojans

March 31, 2019

With the entire Pasadena ISD schedule still to play in the district race, Sam Rayburn’s hopes of earning a rare state playoff berth will likely hinge on how well they do against their PISD cousins.

That quest began on the right foot Saturday afternoon thanks to the strong pitching performance of Adam Gonzales, who went the distance in leading the Texans to a 4-2 District 22-6A win over South Houston at Maguire Field.

Pitching in the rain from the fourth inning on, Gonzales kept the struggling Trojans befuddled. He allowed just one earned run, a score in the third inning.

“He actually tweaked his back on the second pitch of the game. We had teammates rubbing him down between innings. I think he threw three pretty good pitches today,” said Texans head coach Joey Grochett, who praised Gonzales’ fastball, curveball and change-up for holding South Houston’s offense to three singles and a double.

Best of all was his terrific control. Just two free passes to first base and 97 overall pitches. One of the walks however helped stir things up in South Houston’s final at-bat.

A one-out walk to Angel Hernandez and a single by Robert Romero put runners on the corners. After a strikeout, Jon Saldana chopped a ball to the third baseman, who bobbled the ball before firing to first base.

The field umpire called the runner safe, but after a conference on the infield grass, the home-plate umpire overruled the initial call, calling Saldana out.

Needless to say, the South Houston coaches were livid, thinking they had trimmed the deficit to 4-3 and had the tying run in scoring position.

Sam Rayburn, trailing 1-0, scored its winning runs in the fourth, pushing three runs home. A walk to Gonzales, an error and a single by Moses Trujillo loaded them up.

Brooks Reynolds tied the game with a walk on a 3-2 pitch as courtesy runner Anthony Chapa scored, followed by a Luis Palma fielder’s choice that plated Mario Garcia.

That should have been the end of the damage. But Trujillo was credited with the steal of home plate when Palma got hung up between first and second base. Somehow, Palma made it back to first base and the Rayburn lead had grown to 3-1.

South Houston scored an unearned run in the sixth and Rayburn scored its final run on a mental error that enabled the team to take advantage of three walks.

“This is a huge series. The biggest game of the season is Tuesday night. The winner between us will have four wins. We want to be a part of those big games down the stretch,” Grochett said.

True, four wins will have teams in the hunt for no worse than fourth place going into the second half of the 22-6A race. Kingwood is leaving everyone in the dust, but Rayburn, Memorial, Atascocita and South Houston are right now all in the same four-win vicinity.

ravery@hcnonline.com