One of the biggest comebacks in the 13-year history of the Brazos Valley Bombers gave them the 2019 Texas Collegiate League regular-season title.
Texas A&M signee Logan Sartori’s two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning lifted the Brazos Valley Bombers to a 12-11 victory over the Texarkana Twins on Thursday night at Travis Field. Sartori’s line drive into the left-field corner capped the Bombers rallying from an 11-2 deficit in their last two at-bats. Sartori also hit a grand slam in a seven-run seventh as the Bombers (33-16, 12-11 second half) won their eighth straight regular-season title, edging out the Victoria Generals (33-18, 15-8).
The regular-season title appeared to be heading down to Friday’s final games as Victoria was cruising to a 12-1 victory over the Acadiana Cane Cutters (18-31, 12-12) while the Twins were scoring 11 straight runs on the Bombers.
But things changed in the seventh as Texarkana starting pitcher Zachary Goree tired. The left-hander from Stephen F. Austin allowed the first five batters to reach. He was lifted after back-to-back RBI singles by Chase Kemp and Hunter Coleman. Texarkana, short on pitching, was forced to replace Goree with right-hander Hudson Hopkins, normally an outfielder. Hopkins hit Sam McElreath with his third pitch and Sartori blasted Hopkins’ fifth pitch over the 14-foot left-field fence to pull the Bombers within 11-9.
Sartori, who played at Hutchinson Community College, had a fast start in the summer wooden-bat league, but the shortstop came into the game hitting .237 with two homers and 16 runs batted in. He had been playing only home games because he’s taking summer classes.
The Twins were retired in order in the eighth inning for the first time in the game by Bombers’ reliever Joe Buckendorff.
Hopkins was back in trouble in the bottom of the eighth as Kyle Coker reached on an infield hit and Chase Kemp was hit by a pitch. The Bombers pulled within a run on Hunter Coleman’s fielder’s choice as the Twins threw the ball away, leaving runners on the corners with one out. The Twins threw out Kemp at home on McElreath’s grounder to first baseman Lee Thomas. But Sartori capped his biggest game for the Bombers by smashing a full-count pitch into the left-field corner, fittingly on Aggie Night.
Henry Bird, the Bombers’ sixth pitcher, retired the Twins in order in the ninth.
The Twins (22-24, 10-12) scored 31 runs in their last three games, but allowed 35 to lose all three.
Texarkana scored six runs in the fourth inning for a 7-2 lead, getting a big pair of bloop singles.
Matthew Kissamis fisted a 1-2 pitch into center field to load the bases with one out. Shea Gutierrez followed with dink into right-center field to plate two runs and a third run scored on the play when the throw to the plate was errant. Ryan Randle and Julian Flores added RBI hits with the inning’s last run scoring on a wild pitch.
The Twins added what they thought would be four insurance runs in the seventh as leadoff batter Michael Manetta reached on an error and the next four batters via two walks and two singles.
The Bombers, coming off two days off, had a fast start in the game as Kemp lined a two-run home run over the right-field fence in the first inning. Kemp’s fourth homer of the season scored Coker, who had doubled.
The Bombers didn’t have another hit until Jordan Yeatts’ one-out single in the fifth. The Bombers ended up stranding runners on second and third that inning and again in the sixth before getting rolling in the seventh.
The two teams will conclude the regular season at 7:05 p.m. Friday. There will be fireworks afterward. The Bombers will open the best-of-3 divisional series at the Acadiana Cane Cutters on Saturday.
Sartori and Coker each had three hits. Julian Flores and Matthew Kissamis each had three hits for the Twins, while Randle had two.