The wait is over.
And it came just in time for Brett Anderson, who left it all on the mound Tuesday night at Kerens, where he pitched a masterpiece to lead the Bobcats over Cayuga, 5-1, and help the program win its first baseball district title since 1981.
“I've got no gas left. I'm out,'' said Anderson, a senior lefty who stopped Cayuga cold, holding the three-time defending district champs to just three singles while striking out 14.
He struck out the side in the second, third and fifth innings and struck out all 14 in just six innings. He retired the side in the seventh on a pair of ground outs to third and a spectacular play by shortstop Shelton Sayles, who made a leaping snow cone catch of a rising line drive.
It was that kind of day for Kerens.
It's been that kind of year for the Bobcats, who knew it had been more than 30 years since the baseball team won a district title an talked about making history earlier this season.
“I'm excited for the kids,'' said Kerens Coach Jason Engel, who was doused with a barrel of ice water in the celebration that followed the win. “I'm blessed to coach them. God just gave me a great opportunity to coach a great bunch of kids.''
Kerens finishes the District 19-1A DI season at 12-2 and Cayuga, which could have forced a one-game playoff for the title with a win on Tuesday, finishes second at 10-4 with two losses coming at the hands of the Bobcats
Kerens not only gets the district title but also receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Bobcats won't play again until the area round of the playoffs.
They're off to College Station to see Texas A&M play LSU. That's what Engel promised his kids, and they cashed in against their biggest baseball rivals.
“It's a long time gone,'' Engel said of the wait from 1981 until Tuesday between district crowns. “This is one of the things we talked about at the beginning of the season. It was one of our goals and there's no better way to do it than against Cayuga.''
Kerens joined Cayuga in the same district four years ago, and Cayuga won the title all three years, a fact that wasn't lost on anyone at Kerens.
“It means a lot to win the district title,'' Anderson said. “It feels like something was lifted off my shoulders. I wanted it. I wanted it bad, especially since it was Cayuga.''
He pitched like it.
“He was on'' said Sayles. “I've never seen him on like he was today. He was clutch.''
Anderson has pitched no-hitters and perfect games, but Sayles said this was different.
“This was Cayuga and those guys can hit,'' said Sayles, who had a brilliant day at short with his leaping snow cone catch in the seventh and his hustling play on an infield dribbler in the first when he raced in and made a bang-bang-play at first.
Anderson got some help with two outs and a man at first on a ball hit to right that looked like a single in the first inning, but right fielder Jeremy Gould raced in and threw to second in time to get a force out to end the inning on a rare 9-6 play.
But he day belonged to Anderson, who simply shut down Cayuga. He even picked a runner off first and walked only one batter all day as he struck out everyone in the Cayuga lineup except Kegan Holliman, who drove in Cayuga's only run with a two-out single up the middle in the fifth that brought home in Lane Brogan, who singled and stole second.
But that was it.
Kerens never trailed. The Bobcats took a 2-0 lead in the fourth when freshman Mitchell Solis hit a two-run single to right to bring in Brent Warren, who had singled, and Anderson, who had walked.
Kerens added two runs in the fifth. Anderson's double down the right field line drove in Zach Duncan, who had singled. Anderson went to third on a passed ball and scored on Gould's safety squeeze bunt.
Kerens added a run in the seventh on a suicide squeeze bunt by Duncan.
Kerens had 10 hits. Duncan went 3 for 3 with a sacrifice bunt RBI, stole a base and scored once, Anderson went 2 for 2, drove in a run and scored twice and Warren went 2 for 4 and scored once.
And Anderson dominated on the mound, just like he has done all year long.
“He goes out there and pounds the strike zone,'' Engel said of Anderson. “He gives us a chance to win every time he takes the mound.''
The wait is over.
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