The Brazoswood Buccaneers have made a habit of capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes in their playoff run this year.
On Friday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, they did it once again against Klein and were rewarded with a berth in the Class 5A state championship game on Saturday.
Will Easter hit a two-out three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Evan Rutter to erase a 3-1 deficit and send Brazoswood past the Klein Bearkats, 4-3, in their state semifinal matchup.
The Buccaneers (33-8) will play the winner of the Lubbock Coronado-Corpus Christi Carroll semifinal game for the Class 5A title.
The home run by Easter brought a sudden end to the season for the Bearkats, who were making their second consecutive trip to the state tournament. Klein lost to Corpus Christi Carroll in the 2010 championship game.
The starting pitchers for both teams allowed first-inning hits but retired the side without giving up runs. Klein was first to strike in the top of the second.
With one out, the Bearkats got consecutive singles from Connor Belvin, Jonathan Fuller and Phillip Holeman to score the first run of the game.
Klein added another run in the third on a double by Mitch Nau, a single by Jared Simbles and a sacrifice fly by Rutter to make the score 2-0.
Brazoswood answered with a run in the bottom of the third. John Ermis walked, moved to third on a single by Dalton Perry and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Pyeatt.
But Klein (31-11) would score for the third consecutive inning in the fourth when Hayden Jefferies reached on a two-out single and then scored on a double by Andrew Santacroce, giving the Bearkats a 3-1 lead.
At the same time, Rutter was settling in on the mound for Klein and shutting down the Brazoswood lineup. Beginning with Pyeatt’s sacrifice fly in the third, the Rice University signee retired eight Buccaneer batters in a row.
Through five innings, Rutter had allowed one run on two hits and struck out four.
But Hayden Jefferies’ fielding error on a chopping ground ball of the bat of Perry broke that string to start the pivotal sixth inning. Pyeatt followed with a single, moving pinch runner Jacob Reed to second base.
Rutter recovered to strike out Brandon Bergen and induced a fly out to center field by William Renner for the second out, bringing Easter to the plate with two out and two on.
Easter fouled off several pitches from Rutter before turning on an inside fastball and driving it well beyond the left field fence and up into the lower level of the Home Run Deck beyond the berm in the outfield at Dell Diamond.
Bergen (16-0), the senior lefthander, was the beneficiary of the run support and retired Klein in the top of the seventh to secure the victory. Bergen gave up 10 hits and struck out seven in the complete-game performance.
The Bucs will carry the Houston-area banner into the state championship game as they play for the third state baseball title in school history. Brazoswood was the 1984 state champion and last earned a title in 1992.