The Needville Junior All-Stars fell behind early Tuesday against West End in an elimination game at the Texas East State Tournament in Tyler at Faulkner Park. Needville quickly responded and tied the game at three runs each; unfortunately, West end was able to score a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 4-3.
Needville finishes their postseason with an 8-3 record overall as District 36 and Texas East Section 4 champions. West End will play West University for the Texas East title on Wednesday.
Logan Lounder kept Needville in the game all night on the mound; he allowed one earned run on six hits over six innings. West End did touch up Lounder early; a single plated a run after a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the first inning.
An error by the Needville infield loaded the bases with one out, and a sacrifice fly made the score 2-0 for West End.
Needville quickly attempted to get the two runs back in the second inning after walks to Landon House and Drew McRae. A double play ended the threat before it started.
West End’s offense continued to find success in the bottom of the second inning; three singles put the home team up 3-0.
Needville tied the game 3-3 with four batters safely reaching after two outs in the third inning. Kaiden Bittner (walk) and Colton Butler (single) moved into scoring position on a throwing error followed by a Butler’s hit.
Hayden Gateley drove in Needville’s first runs with single to center, and he was able to move up to second on the throw home. A walk to A Armstrong, Ralph Ortiz and McRae forced home a run to tie the game.
The bases were left loaded with a ground ball to shortstop.
Lounder followed the scoring efforts by retiring West End in order to end the third inning, and neither team would get a hit again till the fifth inning. Gateley collected an infield single with a hard-hit ball to third base, and he moved to second on a passed ball.
Ortiz nearly put Needville in front after hitting a single to left field, but Gateley was thrown out at home plate. West End and Needville were shut down for the next six outs.
West End started a two-out rally with two singles and a walk, but Lounder induced a fly ball to left field.
Butler reached first base safely with an infield single in the top of the seventh inning; he stole second after a pick-off attempt and the first pitch. Needville wasn’t able to get Butler home after two hard-hit balls to the outfield.
Ortiz entered the game to pitch the seventh inning for Needville. He traded off walks and strikeouts to start the inning. West End got two runners on base before Jett McKeller was brought to shut down the scoring threat. McKeller walked his first batter to load the bases, and he struck out his second batter.
The Juniors’ run at Texas East ended on a jam shot to second base that wasn’t fielded cleanly and allowed the West End runners to beat the throw to first base.
Butler and Gateley each collected two hits for the juniors. Gateley drove in two runs, and McRae earned two walks.