The rematch between South Fremont and Homedale in the opening round of the 3A state baseball tournament on Thursday afternoon may not have featured the drama of last year’s wild game, but that was OK with the Cougars.
A game that started out as a pitching duel between South Fremont’s Sawyer Klingler and Homedale’s Drew Deal, ended with the Cougars taking advantage of Trojan miscues on the way to a 3-1 victory at Melaleuca Field.
Both teams had their chances, but it was South Fremont celebrating at the end and feeling a bit of redemption after last year’s meeting in which Homedale rallied with a seventh-inning homer and then stifled a South Fremont rally in the bottom of the seventh to knock the Cougars into the loser’s bracket.
“It definitely motivated us,” said Klingler, who pitched a complete game and struck out three. “It was time to get revenge from last year.”
South Fremont (22-5) loaded the bases in the second and had runners on second and third in the fourth inning, but Deal was able to escape the early threats. Homedale (16-10) had runners in scoring position in the first and fourth innings, but was unable to plate a run.
“We just couldn’t string it together and couldn’t come up with a clutch hit,” Homedale coach Burke Deal said.
It was the same for South Fremont.
“We got a few guys on base the first couple of inning and were in position to score some run but we just couldn’t get the hit,” Cougars coach Chad Hall said.
That would change in the fifth when South Fremont loaded the bases following an error, and the first run scored on a passed ball. Payten Hollist followed with a bloop single to left that scored another run. The Cougars took a 3-0 lead on an RBI single to right by Karter Yancey in the sixth.
The Trojans avoided the shutout with a run in the sixth, but would get no closer.
“We’re disappointed,” Burke Deal said after a long postgame talk with his team. “You have to feel the disappointment and decide if you want to keep playing. I think we’ve got some pretty tough competitors and I suspect they’re going to come back and play tomorrow. That’s what I’m expecting.”
South Fremont will take on Marsh Valley in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Homedale plays Timberlake in the consolation round at 10 a.m.
SOUTH FREMONT 3, HOMEDALE 1
S.Fremont 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 –3 7 2
Homedale 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 –1 6 4
SOUTH FREMONT – Pitchers: Sawyer Klinger 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 0 BB. Leading hitters: 2B: Bryan Popocatl. RBI: Karter Yancey, Payten Hollist.
HOMEDALE – Pitchers: Drew Deal 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 3 BB; Tommy Muir 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB. Leading hitters: Garrett Bettleyon 2-3. 2B: Clayton Wolfe. RBI: Ismael Garcia.