BRENHAM, Texas – After three and a half innings, Markus Carr had seen enough.
With his Blinn Buccaneers trailing 4-0, the sophomore left fielder called a players-only meeting in the corner of the dugout, determined to see his ballclub finish the regular season strong.
They did exactly that, rallying to beat the Galveston College Whitecaps 5-4 in the first game of the double-header, then wrapping up second place in the Region XIV Conference South Zone with a 9-1 victory that capped a three-game series sweep.
“Markus Carr basically took this team on his back this week,” Blinn coach Harvey McIntyre said. “He did the best job of leading a group of players that I’ve seen anybody do. It was phenomenal.”
Heading into Saturday’s action at Leroy Dreyer Field, both the Buccaneers and Whitecaps knew they could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the conference race. In the early going it was Galveston that looked to take advantage, scoring four unearned runs in the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead.
But the Bucs bounced back with RBI singles from Tyler boss and Eric Wood in the fifth inning.
In the seventh, still down by two runs, the Buccaneers grounded out twice to open the inning. Then Boss singled, and Wood followed with a two-run home run to tie the game. Quinton Evans followed with a home run for the walk-off victory.
“They scrapped and competed and played to the last out,” McIntyre said. “They gutted it out.”
Wood finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He was a triple shy of the cycle.
Tyler Boss went 2-for-3 with an RBI and J.C. Neighbors also went 2-for-3.
Sophomore pitcher Jason Simms pitched the complete game, allowing four unearned runs on six hits. He struck out eight, and held Galveston scoreless after the second inning.
The Buccaneers had an easier time of things in the second game. Blinn jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before Galveston threatened in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. But sophomore pitcher Kevin Hahn got a strikeout and a lazy fly ball to get out of the jam.
“I thought that was the turning point in the game,” McIntyre said.
Hahn went six innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits. He struck out six. Trent Rape threw two scoreless innings before Taylor Cobb came on for a scoreless ninth inning.
Carr again played a leadership role in the win, going 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs. Quinton Evans went 4-for-5 with an RBI triple, finishing a home run shy of the cycle.
Wood went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Holden Cammack and Boss each had two hits and Eric Preuss added an RBI single.
With the wins, the Buccaneers will be the second seed out of the South Zone in the Region XIV Tournament in Mount Pleasant, Texas. The Buccaneers conclude the regular season with a 32-21 overall record, including a 21-13 mark in conference. They went 13-5 in the second half of league play.
“We were phenomenal in the second half,” McIntyre said. “To go from 8-8 to 21-13, that’s an outstanding stretch.”
San Jacinto won the South Zone, edging out Blinn by a game. Alvin placed third and Galveston finished fourth.
In the East, Northeast Texas took the top seed, followed by Navarro, Texarkana and Paris.
The first day of the conference tournament on May 12 will see Alvin and Navarro play at 10 a.m. followed by Blinn and Texarkana at 1 p.m., San Jacinto vs. Paris at 5 p.m. and Galveston vs. Northeast Texas at 8 p.m.