CLEBURNE — In a Region I-5A semifinal series opener marked by upwards of a dozen potential tell-tale moments, two bouncing balls ultimately sealed the deal in Aledo’s nail-biting, 6-5, nine-inning win over Wylie on Thursday evening.
The first, which denied the Bulldogs a chance to gain the upper hand in the best-of-three series, came off the bat of Wylie catcher Landon Williams in the seventh inning. The game was tied 5-5, and Williams was hitting with two outs and teammate Riley Hood leading off from first base after being hit by a pitch.
The junior backstop blasted a line drive to deep left field, which would have easily scored Hood — save for fact that it bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. That left Hood at third and Williams at second, and the Bulldogs couldn’t bring either home.
The second, and deciding hop, occurred two innings later. With two outs in the bottom half of the inning and a runner on first, Bearcat right fielder Zach Harrison hit a soft popup some 130 feet from home plate toward the first base line. Had it gone 131, Wylie right fielder Grayson Beardon might have been able to catch it. Instead, his dive came up just short, and the ball caromed off his glove away from second baseman JT Thompson, who was also in hot pursuit — just far enough for Aledo’s Parker Stegall to race around the bases and beat Thompson’s throw by a few feet.