Baseball is a game of inches, but the inches didn’t go Vandegrift’s way on Wednesday night.
The Vipers fell to state-ranked San Antonio Reagan 6-1 at home in the first of a best-of-three series in the first round of the playoffs. The Rattlers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and Vandegrift had four hits in the game.
“I thought our boys competed,” head coach Allen McGee said. “We left a couple balls up in the first inning, they’re a good hitting team. Give their pitcher credit, he was a good as advertised. We put the ball in play on him and they were able to make plays defensively.”
Jake Miller led the Vipers with two hits and drove in their only run of the game with a single to left field. Alex Maatz pitched four innings with three strikeouts and Connor Korioth finished the game, allowing one run in three innings of work.
“I’ve got all the faith in Alex when we get to a Game 3,” McGee said. “We’re going to bring him out to potentially close it out.”
Reagan had three hits in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Rattlers continued their offensive barrage when what looked like a routine fly ball to left field caught the wind and cleared the outfield wall for a solo home run in the third inning.
Three more hits in the fifth inning made it 6-0 Reagan before Vandegrift came back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Miller’s single scored Connor Logeman.
Justin Moore’s hard-hit ball to deep center field would have scored another run, but a diving catch by the Reagan outfielder squashed any Vandegrift rally.
“We could have easily rolled over and we didn’t,” McGee said. “That’s a really good ballclub over there and we didn’t give up. There is no quit in this team. It was a hard fought game from both teams.”
Game 2 will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Blossom Athletic Complex in San Antonio. If necessary, Game 3 will return to Vandegrift at Venom Field at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been preparing for it for two years because all we play in district are series,” McGee said. “We’ve lost game one before and come back head to head. I have complete faith that these guys are going to fight. I don’t want to go to battle with anyone else.”