The Robstown Cotton Pickers defeated the Sweeny Bulldogs in the Regional quarterfinals with 7-5 and 5-3 wins in a best-of-three series.
The Cotton Pickers jumped out early in both games, with 6-0 and 5-0 leads in each. But the Bulldogs battled back in each to make things interesting. Late defense from the 'Pickers preserved each win.
Randy Flores ended Game One, striking out Dalton Guajardo late in the game. Flores allowed four hits and was credited as the winning pitcher.
Trey Leal would come off the bench in game two to hold down the Bulldog bats. He allowed two hits and pitched four shut-out innings.
There was a little satisfaction to some of the 'Pickers' players and fans. Earlier this year, the Bulldogs ended Robstown's football season 52-15 in the second round of the playoffs. Each team sported players who play both sports.
The 'Pickers will move on to the Regional semi-finals where they will face the Somerset Bulldogs, a team that Coach Elias Vasquez Jr. said, "really puts you on your toes."
"They really like to play small-ball," Vasquez said. "They like to put your defense in motion with a lot of running, bunts and squeezes."
The 'Pickers entered the postseason ranked third in the state by the State Coaches poll and first by 3ABaseball.com. However, Vasquez said the team is prepared to play strong competition in any round.
"I told the guys that no team gets to the fourth round of the playoffs on a fluke," he said. "They're ready to face any team and they will do it with a lot of heart."
Robstown's Regional Semifinal series against Somerset will begin on Friday, with Game One scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Game Two will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m., with Game Three following 30 minutes after the end of Game Two, if necessary. All three games will be played at South San Antonio High School.