LIVE BROADCAST: Ridge Point, McKinney Boyd could argue all day who’s been more clutch

Austin Bradbury blasted a two-run HR for Ridge Point Friday in Game 2 vs. Kingwood, giving the Panthers a lead they would never lose. They swept the series to advance to the state tournament. (Photo by Ricardo Gaines)

by Roger Smith

ROUND ROCK – They’re both first-timers at the UIL state baseball tournament, so Fort Bend Ridge Point and McKinney Boyd have no history of going to Round Rock for the Texas high school baseball version of the Final Four.

Ah – but if their fans were to ask either ballclub, “What have you done for me lately?” in the context of 2019, there is much to brag about. And for Boyd and their seventh year head coach, Brooke Court, some of the things they’ve done in this year’s playoffs might be unprecedented.

“Not to my knowledge, but I’m not positive on that,” said Court when asked if his Broncos (31-14) are the only team to go 8-0 in elimination games in a single postseason. “It’s been an experience, for sure. When you’re in the playoffs, you’ve got to be good, but you’ve also got to get a little luck on your side every once in a while.”

The Panthers and Broncos are scheduled to face each other at 4 p.m. in the first of two Class 6A semifinal games Friday at Dell Diamond; you can listen to the game live, or later on the podcast, on VYPE Sports Radio at https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype.  

Defending state champion Southlake Carroll faces Lake Travis at 7 p.m. in the other semifinal. The two winners meet Saturday at 4 p.m. for the state championship. If Ridge Point reaches the title game, VYPE will broadcast it.  

The No. 3 seed out of District 9-6A behind Prosper and Allen, Boyd trailed in two of those eight win-or-go-home games. In Game 2 against The Woodlands, they were tied after five innings. In seven of those elimination games, the Broncos have allowed three runs or fewer, including a shutout of Cy Ranch in last Thursday’s Game 2.

“Our team’s pretty resilient, and we don’t really panic about anything, even if we get down,” Court said. “We’re gonna keep playing our game, and take it one pitch at a time, and just trust the process.”

Ridge Point has won 10 of its 11 playoff games, including three stirring comebacks.

After losing Game 1 to Cy Fair, Ridge Point was down 4-2 after five innings in Game 3. Austin Bradbury’s two run triple and Tanner Bond’s RBI single gave them a 5-4 lead. The Bobcats loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, but did not score against right-handers Bond and Mitchell Cashion.

Trailing 7-2 going to the fourth inning of Game 1 at Atascocita, the Panthers scored the next 10 runs including Hayde Key’s two-run homer. They won, 12-9.

In Game 1 of the regional final vs. Kingwood Thursday, the Panthers scored four runs in the fifth to erase a 5-1 deficit and tie the game. Preston Steszewski drove home three with a two-out triple and scored on a wild pitch.

But there’s more: With the game still tied 5-5, left fielder Bradbury threw out Julian Rodriguez at home plate to retire the side in the bottom of the seventh, denying Kingwood a walk-off win. In the top of the eighth, Jack Baker’s two-out double drove home Matt Thompson with the game-winning run. The Panthers scored all but one of their runs in the 6-5 victory with two outs.

Ridge Point (32-4-1) has faced high-quality competition (Seven Lakes, Stratford, Cy Fair, Atascocita and Kingwood) comparable to Boyd’s playoff victims (Rowlett, Rockwall Heath, Allen, The Woodlands and Cy Ranch) in the 2019 postseason.

If you like to compare history, the lineup of teams Ridge Point has knocked out on its way to the state tournament have a combined five state tournament appearances and two championships (Cy Fair, Kingwood) in the record books. Boyd has met a group with a collective nine state tournament berths and six titles – Heath, The Woodlands (three) and Cy Ranch (two) – and kicked them all to the curb when they all had two opportunities to put down the Broncos.

The probable starting pitchers in the Ridge Point-Boyd game are Panthers’ ace and Texas Tech commit Key (5-0 with a 1.65 ERA in the playoffs) and Boyd’s Jack Hagan (5-0, 2.33 ERA in the playoffs). They are both juniors.

So are the two teams’ shutdown relievers. Dylan Bobo (1-0, three saves and a 2.80 ERA in four playoff appearances) has been the Ridge Point playoff closer for head coach Clinton Welch, and Dawson Goheen (1-0, three saves, 1.11 ERA) has the same role for Boyd. In five relief innings Saturday, Goheen allowed no hits or runs during the Broncos’ 8-3 win over Cy Ranch in Game 3.

You can listen to podcasts of all VYPE games at https://www.spreaker.com/show/fort-bend-sports-powered-by-vype.

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