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Bulldogs battle back into playoff hunt with win over Canyon Lake Hawks

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

After the Bulldog baseball squad took a hard blow to the sails of their playoff hopes last Thursday night with a blowout loss to Canyon Lake, the team bounced back strong on Friday night and gave the Hawks a blowout of their own. Coming alive in the sixth inning on Friday night, the Bulldogs pulled away and defeated the Hawks 17-6 and moved back into fourth place in the district.
"It was an extremely important win for us," junior Calvin Bankston said. "Coach Ridings hadn't been with us because of his injury, and we all knew we needed a win for him to build back our momentum and stay in the hunt for the playoffs."
The game started off slow and then picked up as both teams began to hit the ball well in the second inning. Canyon Lake took an early lead, but the Bulldogs certainly didn't let that get them down.
"We didn't let the early lead get us down," senior Jonathan Stoufflet said. "We were going to finish strong, and nobody was ready to give up."
It was certainly a back and forth game for much of the contest as the two teams battled through seven lead changes. The Bulldogs had their first large offensive output in the fourth inning, scoring four runs and pulling back ahead of Canyon Lake.
"We finally started hitting the ball," Bankston said. "We were all seeing it very well and making good contact. Then our defense stepped it up, and we were able to pull out the win."
Although the Hawks had built a small lead early, senior pitcher Caleb Beauchamp held them in check on the mound. Striking out four batters and allowing only six hits, Beauchamp was key to the Bulldogs win.
"It was very critical for him to come out throwing the way he always does," Stoufflet said. "It gave us the confidence we needed to go out there and finish the job."
Canyon Lake was able to tie the game back up in the fifth inning with two runs of their own, and the game stood at 6-6 as the teams headed toward the finish line. Beauchamp allowed only one hit in the top of the sixth, and that set up the Bulldogs for what would end up being an incredible offensive inning.
"Coach Markgraf and Coach Weston pulled us aside before the bottom of the sixth and fired us up," sophomore Dallas Backer said.
Whatever the coaches said certainly worked, as an 11 run bottom of the sixth inning by the Bulldogs offense halted the game an inning early due to the ten run rule, and Bandera walked out with their third district win of the season. The offense explosion was contributed to by all 11 players, as each one either scored a run or drove in an RBI. The leaders at the plate were senior Ish MacNeil, who had three RBI's and two hits, Backer who had two hits and three RBI's, and Bankston who had two hits and an RBI.
"Jonathan [Stoufflet] had a nice leadoff single, and Garrett [Rose] moved him into scoring position and Ish drove him in," Backer said. "We never looked back from there, and the next nine batters got on base."
The win leaves the Bulldogs tied for fourth place in district with the Fredericksburg Billies. Bandera has sixth games left to improve their positioning for playoffs, and will face the Billies twice more in the final two games of the season. The Bulldogs next outing will be Friday, April 11 in Boerne with teams taking the field at 7pm.