AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Astros nip Yankees 4-3 to win Bronco League City Championship

Robert AveryMay 23, 2019

As bunts go, it was special.

As a game-winning bunt, it was spectacular.

Makaio Rogers’ textbook bunt up the first-base line scored Trey Gracia with the dramatic winning run, enabling the Astros to capture Deer Park’s Bronco League City Championship with a 4-3 win over the Yankees at windy Saddler Field Monday night.

Playing before a pre-all-star announcement crowd, Rogers laid down his walk-off bunt on the first pitch from Yankees relief pitcher Colt Turner.

Two outs away from the game going into extra innings, there was nothing the Yankees could have done defensively, it was that perfect of a bunt.

“I just made it out on my own. I didn’t even get a sign. I felt it was like the right thing to do. I knew there was a runner on third with one out. It was a good game. I got really nervous during the game,” Rogers said.

His bunt was perfect and so was his night. The kid went 3-for-3 in the five-hole slot, connecting for a double in the first and a run-scoring single in the fourth that allowed the Astros to overcome their only deficit of the night, knotting the score at 3-3.

The score may have been close but the hits weren’t. The Astros outhit the Yankees 10-2. The top five Astros batters went 8-for-14 and scored all four runs.

A big, big reason for the one-sided affair in hits was due to the pitching of birthday boy - OK, sort of the birthday boy - Preston Bryant.

Bryant, just 96 hours removed from celebrating his 12th birthday, allowed just one hit in 3 and 2/3 innings. Bryant struck out seven, walked one and hit two batters.

In his first four days as a 12-year-old, Bryant is already 2-0 on the mound. Last Thursday, he was the winning pitcher against the Dodgers in a semifinal game that didn’t go the full six frames.

Bryant had the difficult task of facing the meat of the Yankees batting order in the top of the sixth inning. But mixed around an inning-opening walk to Sean Dupuis and an error, Bryant struck out the two, four and five-hole hitters.

One of his strikeout victims was Rome Gatlin, who seldom strikes out. Prior to his sixth inning at-bat, Gatlin had lined out to center and lined out hard to the first baseman, causing the Astros to turn a double play.

“I threw a cutter (cut fastball) over the seam and it moved and he missed it,” said Bryant, who leaned on his usual pitches of a four and two-seam fastball and his maximum of two curveballs.

Starting pitcher Aidan Pena-Weed and Bryant combined for 11 strikeouts. Gatlin, the Yankees starting pitcher, and Turner combined for six strikeouts. Turner, who got his teammates out of a mini jam in the fifth, only faced four batters for the night.

The Astros scored two in the first inning on the strength of four stolen bases. Pena-Weed and Isaiah Aguirre each singled and each stole their way to third base. Aguirre singled home his teammate and Gracia’s groundout to the shortstop scored Aguirre.

But with Wingo giving the Yankees their only two hits, the four-hole hitter scored twice, once in the second and again in the fourth. A balk call scored Cargill during a two-run second.

Both teams lost a runner at home plate. The Yankees, in their attempt to create a 4-2 lead, had a runner tagged out at the plate in the fourth and the Astros lost a runner at the plate in the second as they tried to snap a 2-2 tie.

ravery@hcnonline.com

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.