The Gonzales Apaches rode the arm of Kason Tieken and a six-run second inning to an 8-6 victory over the Smithville Tigers, Tuesday afternoon, at T.E. Burrows Field.
Payback was on the minds of the Tribe players, as they avenged last season’s loss to the Tigers when the Tribe let the game slip away by lackluster play. On Tuesday, however, they came out firing on all cylinders.
“The boys came out focused, kind of seemed to lose it a little in the middle of the game and finally got it back there at the end,” said Coach Beaux Gipson. “But we’re still growing, you know? We’ve not peaked yet, so we gotta continue to grow, continue to learn and continue to stay mentally focused.”
After shutting down the Tigers in the top of the first, the Tribe went to work with the bats, using singles by Joe Canales, Jr., and Jarren Johnson, along with a couple errors by Smithville to take a 1-0 lead. The Tribe batted around in the bottom of the second, with the first five batters earning their way on with hits. When the dust settled, the Apaches found themselves up 7-0.
A bloop double by Dakota Dubose pushed the lead to 8-0 before Smithville began to mount a rally. In the top of the fifth, the Tigers were able to push across a run after leadoff double, and misplay in the outfield led to a single run in the sixth, cutting the lead to 8-2.
Tieken worked into the seventh inning, trying for the complete game victory, but ran out of gas as his pitch count mounted. “He was lights out until I pulled him,” said Gipson. “Kudos to him, he’s worked hard for us this year and been a really good part of our [pitching] staff.” He was replaced by Canales, who picked up the save, but not without some drama. The Tigers were finally able to take advantage of some tricky winds and a couple of bloop hits to push across four runs before the Apaches were able to get the final out.
Even then, it wasn’t easy. The Smithville coaches protested the final out, claiming that the batter fouled the ball off his foot instead of grounding out to Johnson at first base. After a very brief discussion, the ruling on the field stood and the game was declared complete.
Every Apache hitter reached base in the game, with eight Apaches collecting hits. Canales, Johnson, Dubose, and Paul Deleon had two hits apiece. Tieken earned the win, his team-leading third of the year. Canales picked up his first save of the season.
The Apaches are 7-5 on the year and are off this weekend. They will return to action on Tuesday night against Manor New Tech, as they continue their six-game homestand.