Written by Corbett Smith
Down six runs early, Cleburne rallies for first state final berth in four decades
ROUND ROCK – Cleburne rallied from an early six-run deficit to advance to its first state final since 1979, beating Lake Travis, 9-7, in eight innings.
A two-run single by Conner Martyniuk drove in the game’s winning runs, after Cleburne (30-10) loaded the bases on an infield single, error and intentional walk.
Pitcher Brach Farmer, who came into the game in relief in the second, allowed three hits and one run over the remaining seven innings, getting the win.
“For us, it’s been someone new every week,” Cleburne coach Ross Taylor said.
Early on, it looked grim for Cleburne.
After the second inning was over, it was facing a six-run deficit, with its starter German Hernandez – 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA in the postseason until Thursday – already pulled from the game.
“We kinda got in to some patterns calling pitches, and they did a great job jumping all over that,” Taylor said.
Conversely, Lake Travis starter Phillip Orr – a Dallas Baptist signee – looked untouchable, striking out five of the first six batters.
But that all changed in the fourth. Orr hit two batters, walked two more and allowed three hits in the inning. Stevan Martinez and Nick Woodall both hit two-run singles, as Cleburne tied the game, 6-6.
Farmer said he had a suspicion that his team would rally after he got out of the second.
“After I got out of the inning, I said ‘This ain’t over yet,’” Farmer said.
With Rockwall-Heath and Cleburne advancing, the Dallas/Fort Worth area is guaranteed a state champion in Class 4A. It will be the area’s first title in that class since Southlake Carroll won in 2002.