Coaching baseball 35 years at RHS - the last 28 as head coach - Steve Castro has seen his teams go up against some very good squads and take their share of titles. Last week, defending Region IV-3A winner Giddings, No. 1 in class 3A, took out the Pickers in the region semifinals, at Texas State, by 8-2 and 7-1 scores.
In game one, Randy Flores (7-3 record, 4.1 innings, 5K) pitched into the fifth for the Pickers. The first four runs scored by the Buffaloes, were all aboard on walks, as they scored an unearned run with two outs in the first, and a single marker in the fourth. Max Mesa, pitching 4.1 innings of relief in the series, gave up a two-run double after Flores' last two walks, and an RBI-grounder that made it 5-0 in the fifth.
Getting six hits off Texas Tech-signee Trey Masek (11-0), three by Picker second baseman Brandon Garza in four trips to the plate, the Pickers still made a game of it when Mesa socked his third home in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Ricky Gonzales (walk) in front of him. Mesa was the lead run in the batter's box in the sixth, but a called third strike ended a bases-loaded chance for Robstown. Giddings had a three-run seventh, using back-to-back doubles and a bases-loaded single to put the game away.
Playing again Saturday afternoon, Michael Velasquez, hurting his hamstring on a stretch at first base and running hard on a last-inning grounder to first while batting, couldn't answer the bell after game two warm-ups. Trey Leal, pitching in his third playoff game in 2010, got the start on the mound, and used two Picker double plays, one with the bases loaded, to keep it a 0-0 game with one out in the fifth.
Two double were good for 3RBI in the fifth, and two Picker errors, plus another 2-run double keyed a four-run Buff sixth.
Sending only 20 batters (walk, single) up through six innings, Alex Marroquin, who had a single in the fourth, doubled and scored on the Pickers' last RBI of the season, a single to center by Matt Vasquez, who started a 5-2-3 double play in the fourth. Ricky Gonzalez' single moved Marroquin up to third base. Giddings out-hit the Pickers in two games, 15-10, including a 903 edge in extra-base hits.
With a strong 2010 junior class, the Pickers hope to contend again next year. They will once again compete in 31-3A with Miller, Lyford and Raymondville joining hold overs Robstown, Orange Grove and West Oso to make up the district.
Finishing 24-9, all 24 wins were earned by Picker junior pitchers this season.