Update for May 28, 2015

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Roma stuns MV in area round

By Heath Clary
Special to the Anvil Herald

Laredo -- After last season’s spectacular playoff run to the regional semifinals, the Medina Valley baseball team came into 2015 with state tournament aspirations.

All it took was an unlucky coin flip, an opportunistic opponent, and one bad inning to derail those hopes.

The Panthers lost a one game playoff to Roma in the second round of playoffs last Thursday, May 14, as their comeback bid came up just short by a 6-4 final score.

Medina Valley, with a pitching staff that seemingly has no end, wanted a best-of-three series, but Roma, with not as talented of a team and with only one solid pitcher, would not agree. A coin flip ensued, and the Panthers lost it, so a one game playoff was scheduled in Laredo at Veterans’ Field.

After two innings, it didn’t look like the number of games was going to matter. Heath Clary and Ken Gallegos each hit RBI singles in the first two innings to give starter Cody Moos an early 2-0 lead.

For seven batters, Moos (8-2) showed why he earned a scholarship to Division-1 Baylor University. He struck out the first seven with ease, but then he ran into some trouble.

He walked the number-eight hitter and then gave up his first hit of the game, a double that landed just inside the right field line. That put runners on second and third with one out, and then Moos induced a weak pop fly to first base for the second out.

After a walk loaded the bases, Moos made his first major mistake of the game. He left a fastball over the plate, and the Roma hitter crushed it over the left field wall for a grand slam. It was the first and only home run that Moos allowed his entire high school career, but it was a dagger, nonetheless.

A stunned Panther squad could not immediately answer, and the Gladiators manufactured two more in the fourth.

The leadoff hitter in the inning struck out, but the next two worked walks. Then Moos surrendered a bloop, run-scoring, single to right that landed just in front of Walker Petty. The next batter hit a sacrifice fly to left field that was just deep enough to score the runner from third, despite a strong throw by Gallegos.

Bradley Griggs relieved Moos after another walk, and held down the fort in tremendous fashion. Griggs, a UTSA signee, did not allow a base runner in 2.1 innings of work, striking out five.

After Griggs struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, the Panthers came to bat facing a four-run deficit with their season on the line. They hadn’t done much offensively since the third inning—when they loaded the bases and failed to score—but they turned it on in the seventh.

Kyle Moos led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch—the third time he reached base in the game—and then Zack Griggs ripped a single to center field. With Clary at the plate, the Roma pitcher threw three consecutive pitches past the catcher, allowing Moos and Griggs to both come around and score to cut the deficit in half.

With the score now 6-4, Clary walked. Pinch runner Cody Burris advanced to third with two outs, but the Panthers could not score the two more runs they needed and when Sergio Esqueda took a filthy curveball for strike three, the season was over for the Orange and Black.

The Panthers finish the season with a 23-6 record and bi-district champs. They will lose five seniors to graduation—Cody Moos, Bradley Griggs, Ken Gallegos, Heath Clary, and Mason Foster—but they also have several varsity contributors coming back next year and should once again be a force in District 29-5A, with a chance to go deep into the playoffs.



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