The 2021 Kaufman Lion baseball team fought hard all the way to the end of their area round playoff series against the Texarkana Liberty-Eylau Leopards.
Liberty-Eylau won the series two games to one but they had to really work for it. Liberty Eylau took game one by a count of 5-2. In game two, Kaufman won a narrow 2-1 decision. Finally, in the series-deciding third game, Liberty-Eylau came out on top 7-1. All of these games were played at Sulphur Springs High School on May 14-15.
After these results, the Lion baseball team capped their memorable 2021 season with a final record of 20-12-1.
In game one of this playoff series, Liberty-Eylau used an early offensive outburst to build a 5-0 lead. It was a lead that they never would relinquish on their way to victory.
The Leopards scored one run in the first inning and four in the second to take control of this game. All of these runs came in two-out situations.
The Lions did score two runs in the top of the fifth inning, which cut Liberty-Eylau’s lead to 5-2. But that would be as close as Kaufman would get during this game. RBIs during the fifth inning for the Lions came from Alexis Munoz (RBI groundout) and John Maldonado (RBI infield single).
Individually, Maldonado was the hitting star in this game for the Lions as he produced two hits—a lead off double to right in the first inning and the aforementioned RBI infield single in the fifth inning as well. The other hit in this game for the Lions was produced by Landon Tucker via an infield single in the fifth inning.
Also in this game, Kaufman’s line up had a hard time figuring out Liberty-Eylau’s starting pitcher Gage Bellatti. Overall, Bellatti pitched a complete game while surrendering just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Game two of this series was a classic pitcher’s duel between Kaufman’s Javier Garcia and Liberty Eylau’s Parker Goodman.
Overall, Javier Garcia pitched a complete game while surrendering just one run on six hits with three strikeouts and zero walks. On the flip slide, Goodman worked six innings while giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Offensively, Kaufman built a 2-0 lead thanks to single runs that they scored in the second and third innings respectively. RBIs in this game for the Lions were registered by Kevin Soto (RBI single to right field in the second inning) and Roy Garcia (RBI single to right field in the third inning). Also, other hits in this game for Kaufman were produced by Bryan Tovar (single to center field in the second inning). Jordan Nalls (infield single in the second inning), and Munoz (single to right field I the third inning)
After these runs were scored, Kaufman turned the game over to Javier Garcia and they asked him to take them to the winner’s circle. In the end, Javier Garcia did just that as he helped Kaufman keep their season alive.
In the fifth inning, the Leopards plated one run which cut Kaufman’s lead to 2-1. But from that point on, Javier Garcia refused to surrender any more runs to the Leopards. In the seventh and final inning, the Leopards got a runner on base with two outs. So, the potential go ahead run was now coming to the plate. However, with the game on the line, Javier Garcia struck out the final batter to seal the win for Kaufman.
In the third and deciding game, Kaufman scored first thanks to a RBI sacrifice bunt by Tovar in the first inning.
However, this early 1-0 lead for the Lions did not last long as Liberty-Eylau responded by scoring two runs in the first inning, one in the second, three in the third, and one in the fifth. This steady offensive display helped the Leopards win this game and ultimately the series as well.
The three hits in this game for Kaufman came from Tucker, (infield single in the first inning), Roy Garcia (infield single in the first inning), and Nalls (infield single in the seventh inning).
On the mound, Liberty Eylau’s starting pitcher Nate Moore tossed a complete game while surrendering just one run on three hits with five strikeouts and zero walks.
This 2021 Kaufman Lion baseball season will live in the hearts of everyone who was a part of it for years to come.