The Central Heights playoff game against Onalaska had your typical fans. There were those that always root for the team no matter who is on the team or what the record is. There were those that have a kid or grandchild on the team. There were also a handful of Lufkin residents in attendance just looking to watch a game. Under the press box was a special group of spectators.
About two dozen MLB scouts were watching with notepads and radar guns ready. Each having an assignment to watch Grayson Rodriguez. The Central Heights senior is committed to Texas A&M but has been gaining a lot of attention from the professional leagues.
Grayson would not disappoint the scouts. Radar guns were clocking pitches at 94 mph. Rodriguez would give up just one hit and would finish the night with 14 strikeouts.
Rodriguez had plenty of support from the plate. The Blue Devils would score 14 runs in the first and that included an inside the park home run by Braden Thomas. Thomas initially bunted to move up a runner but the throw to first was wild and after that the Wildcats could never recover as Thomas rounded the bases. The team went through the batting order twice in the inning. Onalaska got the final out when lead off hitter Will Haley hit a line drive back to the pitcher. The game would end after 5 with Central Heights winning 16-0. The two teams will play Game 2 Friday at 5 from Morris Frank Park.
Alto would travel up to Westwood High School to meet up with Normangee. The game was tied at 8 heading into the 7th inning. Harmon West would come in clutch for the Jackets and hit a Grand Slam. Alto would hold on and win 12-8.
In a one game series, Woden would win 16-0 over San Augustine to move onto the area round. Central fell to Anderson-Shiro 5-4. Groveton traveled to Lovelady and won 4-0. Cushing squeaked by Grapeland 1-0. Douglass knocked off Centerville 4-0. Center beat Gladewater 4-1.
In softball action,Hudson and Central were both put to the test.
For Hudson it was a win-or-go-home scenario with their matchup against Tarkington being a one game playoff.
Peyton Foster would pitch 6 2/3 innings for Hudson. She had six strikeouts but also gave up seven walks and 3 earned runs. In the 7th inning Coach Wesley Capps would put Odette Lopez in relief. Lopez got a strikeout and then with runners on the corner, Hudson would pull off a double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Tarkington. The game would go into 10 innings. In the 10th Hudson got their victory when Hannah Blackwell would hit a two-run walk off homerun. It was the first of the season and it could not have come at a better time as Hudson would win 5-3.
Central had a little wiggle room, agreeing to a three game series with East Bernard. The Lady dogs would go into extra innings and after 9 innings were able to pull out the 6-4 victory. Game 2 in the series will be Saturday at 4pm in Mumford.
Other Softball scores included Central Heights beating Rice Consolidated 3-0. Slocum beat Martinsville 16-1.
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