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TAPPS baseball: Lutheran South Academy advances to state title game

May 15, 2019

CROSBY -- Trhea Morse was short on variety Tuesday night, but long on effectiveness.

The Lutheran South Academy right-hander used a two-pitch combination to handcuff Corpus Christi Incarnate Word in a 3-0 Pioneer victory in a TAPPS Division II state semifinal baseball game.

The senior allowed just two hits while his teammates pushed across runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings to send LSA into today’s 1:30 p.m., title game against Fort Worth Christian.

Lutheran South (30-6) is seeking a second straight state baseball championship.

Morse was in command all night, and his defense made most of the plays that helped keep his shutout intact.

“It was my last high school outing, and I had to show up,” Morse said. “I did it for everybody here that will be back next year.

“I only threw my fastball and curveball the entire game. If I needed it, I had a changeup behind them. I knew nothing at all (about Incarnate Word). Coach (Aaron Schneider) just said throw the ball, and I did it.”

The Pioneers scored the only run they would need in the fourth inning after Jared Chambers reached on an error to lead off the frame.

Following a walk to freshman Deundre Jones, Morse lifted a medium deep fly to right which allowed Chambers to reach third.

Kaleb Hicks then came to the plate, and he put down a perfect squeeze bunt which Angel pitcher Perry Burkett couldn’t handle, allowing Chambers to score for a 1-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, the Pioneers stretched the advantage to 2-0 after two outs had been recorded.

Junior Henry Hill singled sharply to left, and a wild pitch advanced him to second.

Chad Allen then lined a single to left, scoring Hill. On the throw to the plate, Allen advanced all the way to third but was stranded there when Chambers lined out to left.

The final Pioneer run scored in the seventh following a leadoff triple by Kevin Roebelen to right-center field.

Easton Brenner then lifted a fly to right field that was easily deep enough to provide LSA with a 3-0 cushion.

Morse retired the Angels in order in the first, second and third innings before an error in the fourth allow Incarnate Word’s Gregg Cervantes to reach.

A sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch enabled Cervantes to advance to third, but Morse retired Burkett on a 5-3 putout to end the threat.

The Angels managed to put runners on first and second in the fifth inning, but Morse induced a force play at third and then struck out the next batter to avoid trouble.

Morse then allowed just one baserunner the final two innings, and retired the side in order in the seventh to seal the victory.

“That was a gutsy performance from him,” LSA head coach Schneider said. “We’ve gotten that from him all year.

“He was in control tonight. In the past couple of outings, he’s struggled in the first inning. Tonight, he had a pretty easy first, and I think that helped him settle in a lot quicker.”

Schneider knew Morse had to be sharp in battling his counterpart on the mound.

“Perry Burkett is good,” Schneider said. “We saw him last year, and we knew he’d be better this year. His slider has gotten better, and he has more velocity.

“We knew it would come down to who would be able to manufacture a couple of runs first, and fortunately, that was us.”

The Pioneers will send sophomore Luke Harrison to the mound today in search of another state title.

“It will be his second consecutive outing in a state championship game, so you hope he uses that experience from last year to pitch with confidence tomorrow.

“We get an opportunity the last day of the season, and that’s all we can ask for. I still don’t know if we’ve played our best game.

“It’s tough because you’re getting everybody’s best every night. You have to play close to perfect. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

tdunnam@hcnonline.com