On a cloudy morning that was appropriate for the raining season we have had, Crawford (26-6) would face Flatonia (24-6) in the State Championship. While this is Crawford’s 3rd appearance, the last time Crawford made the State Tournament was 2003. Flatonia has been here 3 times since then and once prior making this their 5th appearance at State including a 2014 appearance.
The battery for the home team, Flatonia consisted of Gus Venegas (7-1) and Andrew Dvorak. Crawford would bring Branden Nemec (4-2) and Koby Smith. A leadoff walk, a stolen base, and then a triple by yesterday’s player of the game, Braden Murphy would put Crawford up 1-0. Cleanup hitter, Bo Pearson would single to plate Murphy. Two more balls and Venegas would get a quick hook by Coach Bruns as Kaddin Mikulik would come in to pitch. He would get two quick outs to control the damage.
Crawford’s Nemec would entice 2 pop ups then a ground out on a great play by shortstop Braden Murphy for 3 quick outs. Starting the second, Flatonia would get a quick fly out to the right fielder Easton Migl, a line out to 3B Livan Cedillo and a ground out to 2B Blaine Besetzny for 3 quick outs. After 1 ½ it the score remained 2-0 in favor of Crawford.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Flatonia’s Marcus Mica would lead off the inning with a double off the left field fence it what appeared to be the longest and hardest hit ball of the tournament. However, it was negated by a pop up to short, a fly out to center and a 6-3 ground out with 1B Nate Moenning making a run saving dig for the 3rd out.
Crawford would take advantage of a leadoff walk, a hit by pitch and a sac to have runners at the corners with one out. Mikulik would pick off the runner at first, by a run would score on the play putting Crawford up 3-0. A walk and an error by 2B Blaine Besetzny would put runners at the corners and force another pitching change. Easton Migl would take the mound for Flatonia in the top 3. He would entice a long fly ball to center fielder Gus Venegas who covered a lot of ground for a nice play on the ball.
In the bottom of 3, Flatonia’s Andrew Dvorak would hit a bullet to first base; but get robbed by Moenning for out 1. A comebacker to the pitcher would give Crawford 2 outs. Flatonia would fight with 2 outs on a infield single by Casen Novak who subsequently stole 2nd. Flatonia would try to catch Crawford off guard with a bunt but Braden Nemec made the play, stranding Novak at 2nd.
In the top 4, Coalson Foss would walk but then get picked off at first by Easton Migl. Migl would then strike out Jason Wiethorn and get Koby Smith to ground out to second. In the bottom of 4, it was a ground out to second, a ground out to short (with another nice dig by Moenning) and a fly out to right field. 3 up – 3 down.
In the top of 5, Migl continued to be hot getting leadoff batter, Jeff Ward to ground out to second. He added a strike out looking and got Braden Murphy to pop out to the catcher in foul territory. Crawford’s Nemec would get his first strikeout of the game for the first out in the 5th, then throw a ground ball to the right side for a 4-3 putout for the second out. Coalson Foss would leave his feet and steal extra bases from Dvorak. That would be the 2nd time Dvorak smashed a baseball that one of Crawford’s corner infielders would stab.
Other than a HBP, Crawford’s top 6 would be uneventful; unless you are rooting for Flatonia. It went strikeout, hit by pitch, strikeout, groundout to second. Flatonia would put the leadoff batting on when number 9 hitter, Matthew Kozelsky was hit by a pitch. This is just the 3rd runner allowed by Nemec. Nemec would walk Casen Novak, the leadoff batter and force a pitching change. Braden Murphy would take the mound for Crawford. A throwing error by the catcher would move the runners up to 2nd and 3rd. A 4-3 groundout would plate Kozelsky.
Top of seven would see Migl get a quick F6 but walk Smith and give up his first hit to Ward; a single to right field putting runners at first and second. Nemec would fly out to centerfield and Smith would be thrown out at third trying to tag up.
Murphy would start off the Top 7 with a walk to Mica. A sac bunt moved him to second. Murphy would walk the next two and throw two balls before Coach Smith went to Moenning. Moenning would throw 2 balls to allow Flatonia to tie the game.
In the biggest at bat of his life, Casen Novak would come to the plate living out the dream of ever player. Bases loaded, 1 out, bottom of the seventh. It would play out just a every kid plays it out – a drive to left field for the walk out win. Flatonia would win the 2015 2A State Baseball Championship with a score of 4-3. Casen Novak would be the 2015 txhighschoolbaseball.com Player of the Game and the 2015 2A State Tournament MVP.
Congratulations to both Crawford and Flatonia on outstanding seasons.
WP – Easton Migl (3-0)
LP – Braden Murphy (9-1)
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Tags: State Tournament