Written by Corbett Smith
Rowlett loses to Klein, 4-3, on eighth-inning wild pitch
WACO — It was a tough way to lose for Rowlett.
A wild pitch by reliever Bradley Horn with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth allowed Andrew Santacroce to score the winning run Thursday as Klein took Game 1, 4-3, in the best-of-3 Class 5A Region II semifinals at Baylor Ballpark.
But Rowlett coach Paul Carmon and his team seemed sanguine about the loss.
“We’re up,” Carmon said. “We talked to our kids all week that [Evan] Rutter was pretty good. We knew that beating him was going to be a tall order. But now, their No. 1 is done.”
Rowlett second baseman Logan Brown stood up to talk to his teammates in the postgame huddle.
“I told them it’s not this game that would win or lose the series,” Brown said. “It’s how we respond that’s going to be difference.”
Rutter, a Rice signee, was as good as advertised, striking out 11 with good command of his curveball and change-up.
But when Rowlett needed to get to Rutter, it did, scratching out a run in the top of the seventh to tie the score, 3-3. Connor Fikes got a leadoff single and Colton Lankford drove him in. But Rutter buckled down with the bases loaded and one out, getting a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
Rowlett’s No. 2 starter, Justin Garcia, battled without his best stuff, Carmon said. He was pulled in the eighth after throwing 121 pitches. Garcia stranded 11 Klein baserunners.