The South San Antonio Bobcats needed extra inning to keep the series going against the Robstown Cottonpickers, beating them 5-4 in extra innings Friday night, although the Cottonpickers did come out on top Saturday to advance to the Regional Quarterfinals.
With Game 2 tied 3-3, South San Antonio was at the plate at the top of the ninth.
Joe Araiza, who was the starting pitcher of the game knocked a lead-off double for the Bobcats to start the inning.
Manuel Rodriguez came in to relieve Robstown pitcher Chris Contreras with a runner at second and nobody out.
Freddy Garcia was up to bat falling behind on a 1-2 count against Rodriguez.
After Cottonpicker catcher David Rodriguez missed the pitch, Araiza advanced to third.
Contreras struck out Araiza for the first out.
Kenny Puga was next to bat for the Bobcats. After grounding out on a 6-3 play, Araiza stayed at third base.
Robstown coach Steve Castro opted to intentionally walk the next batter Jeremy Ayala, which proved to be costly against Fermin Suarez. Suarez grounded the ball but Contreras tried to get Ayala out at second and he was safe, leaving Araiza to score. South San Antonio was up 4-3.
Josh Solis was next to bat hitting an RBI-single to give the Bobcats a 5-3 lead.
The Cottonpickers were not ready to give in at the bottom of the ninth.
Manuel Rodriguez was up to bat with one out. Hitting a single to center field, Robstown had a runner on the field. Pinch runner Stephen Charles came in and advanced to second on a passed ball.
Joshua Rivera was next to bat for Robstown. Rivera hit an RBI-single to right field as Charles made his way toward home.
With one out, runners were at first and second for Smiley Gonzalez.
Gonzalez hit the ball deep into centerfield as Ayala made an impressive grab, but Robstown's base runners made a mental error thinking Ayala was going to miss the catch and did not tag up to advance. Ayala threw the ball to the infield where shortstop Keith Guzman tagged second base for the double play to end the game. The umpires deliberated for a good 10 minutes, however, to determine if Ayala did cleanly caught the ball.
The crowd stood in anticipation as the umpires discussed the issue and officially ended the ball game. Castro tried to state his peace about whether or not Ayala caught the ball, but the mind umpires had their minds made up as the Cottonpickers had to play a deciding Game 3 the next afternoon.
Robstown advanced to the Regional Quarterfinal baseball playoffs Saturday with a 9-5 win over the Bobcats.
Freshman Michael Velasquez started Saturday afternoon's game at Cottonpicker Field, pitching 5-plus innings and allowing four runs on three hits.
Velasquez started strong, allowing only an infield hit in his first four innings of work. But he got into some trouble in the bottom of the fifth after hitting a batter and walking another.
With two outs in the fifth, Bobcat designated hitter Rene Gallegos drilled a double off the left-field wall, knocking in two runs to put South San Antonio on the board and cut the Picker lead to 4-2.
Velasquez walked the first batter of the sixth inning, and gave up a single to Bobcat pitcher Josh Solis to get into another jam.
Robstown coach Steve Castro brought in Manuel Rodriguez to relieve Velasquez, but Rodriguez gave up a single and a walked in a run while only facing two batters.
John Juarez relieved Rodriguez and walked in a run himself before getting out of the sixth inning.
Robstown got on the board in the top of the first when leadoff hitter David Rodriguez scored from third base on a passed ball.
The Pickers scored three runs in the second inning, to take a 4-0 lead.
Shortstop Chris Contreras began the scoring in the second inning with a home run to left field.
Center fielder Brandon Gallegos walked and designated hitter Alex Marroquin reached first on a fielding error.
Second baseman Joshua Rivera knocked in Gallegos with a single, and David Rodriguez singled in Rivera to make it 4-0 Robstown.
Robstown scored two more runs in the top of the sixth after the Bobcats had cut the Picker lead in half, 4-2.
Pinch hitter Ricky Gonzalez began the sixth with a single.
David Rodriguez batted next and laid down a sacrifice bunt to the right side.
Solis, then playing second base, missed the throw covering first as David Rodriguez made it to second base safely and Rivera, in as a courtesy runner for Gonzalez, scampered all the way to third.
Right fielder Ryan Velasquez batted with one out and grounded sharply to Solis as the ball went by Solis for an error and Rivera and Rodriguez scored, making it 6-2 Robstown.
Robstown put the game away with three runs in the top of the seventh inning when nine Pickers came to the plate.
South San Antonio scored another run in the bottom of the seventh when third baseman Fermin Suarez drilled a home run to left field off Manuel Rodriguez.
But Rodriguez retired the next two hitters to secure the Picker win.
Robstown improved to 21-12 entering the playoff round this week against top-rated Calallen, while the Bobcats finished their season 21-12-1.
Castro said after the game that playing Calallen would not be a grudge-match, although the Pickers lost both district games to the Wildcats this season.
The three-game series with Calallen begins Friday night at Whataburger Field. Calallen coach Steve Chapman was at the Picker games against the South San Antonio scouting Robstown, and Castro said he is also well acquainted with Calallen's team.
"This is the playoffs. It just happens to be Calallen," Castro said. "The three games with South San will help us prepare ourselves. We knew that South San would be tough. They played good baseball. I'm going to enjoy the victory."