Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Aggies cruise to opening round victory

Choudrant defeats Hackberry in first round
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Article Image Alt Text

Photo by Josh McDaniel Jackson Pyle brings home two runs on a single in Choudrant's win over Hackberry Thursday.

Article Image Alt Text

Eli Callendar gave the Aggies a quality start in their first-round win.

When it comes time for the playoffs, it's usually safe to bet on Choudrant's ability to deliver.

That rang true once again as the No. 15 seeded Aggies (13-16) defeated No. 18 Hackberry 7-3 in the first round of the Division V nonselect playoffs, with a quality start from senior Eli Callendar, solid relief from fellow senior Colton Smith, and the bottom half of Choudrant's order coming through at the plate.

Choudrant got started with three runs in the second inning thanks to a 2-RBI single down the right field line from Jackson Pyle to bring home Wade Watson and Austin Barmore. Later in the inning, Colton Smith's ground out produced a run as Tucker Batterton raced home for a comfortable lead for the home squad.

TJ Smith gave Choudrant prime positioning for needed insurance runs after a triple to deep center field in the fourth, only to come home two batters later as Cash Camp reached on an error by Hackberry's infield to allow TJ to score. Callander helped his cause with a HBP RBI in the fifth for a 5-0 lead, while Camp was money once again with a 2-RBI single to right field to put the Aggies in front 7-0.

Callendar, meanwhile, was making Hackberry look months late on his fast ball - putting up 7 strikeouts through 5 innings of work while allowing only two hits in that span. Hackberry would go two innings without a hit but got the Aggies in trouble thanks to five walks and two HBP.

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth, Colton Smith came on in relief and limited the damage as best he could by giving up an RBI ground out and a 2-RBI single. But that was all Hackberry would manage, as Colton racked up back-to-back strikeouts with runners on first and third to end the threat.

Callendar was charged with the runs but his final line still showed a quality outing of 5 innings, 2 hits, 3 ER, 7 strikeouts, 5 walks. Colton finished with a line of 2 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 strikeouts.

"Anytime you win a playoff game it's good because there aren't any slouches in the playoffs and there's a lot of pressure with a don't-win and go home situation," Choudrant head coach Joel Antley said. "I could see a little nerves in our younger guys but our older guys have been there, done that. With Eli on the mound, he's been solid for us all year long and I got complete confidence when he's out there. I had to get him a little early but it's hot out here. He was sweating and his hand was getting wet."

Camp went 2-4 with 2 RBI at the plate, while Watson finished 2-4 as well. Barmore led the Aggies with 3 hits, while Pyle finished his night 2-4 with 2 RBI.

"We did OK at the plate. We were a little out in front on everything for a while," Antley said. "Our younger guys at the bottom part of the lineup really came through for us. We just gotta get the ball out of the air a little bit, be a little better and make them pick it up and throw it.

"We can score runs even though our leading hitter on the team wasn't just lacing them in the gap. It takes everybody. It always takes everybody," Antley added. "Me, along with every other coach, says somebody's gotta step up. When somebody doesn't have it, somebody's gotta step up. It's all about filling those holes. That's what makes a good team."

Now, the Aggies turn their attention to the No. 2 seed Weston Wolves out of District 1-B in the second round. Weston and Choudrant met once in the regular season, with the Wolves winning 9-2 on March 20.

No. 15 Choudrant will travel to face No. 2 Weston (19-13) Thursday at 6 p.m. in the second round.