Jaden Valencia is welcomed home by Sterling High School teammates Jaydon Wright, 25, and Chris Roth, 2, after scoring the Rangers seventh run Thursday in an 8-7 home win over Clear Falls in the first and ultimately last day of the Gary Herrington Battle of the Bay.

Virus concerns lead to early Herrington baseball wrap up

On the first day of the Gary Herrington Battle of the Bay baseball tournament, hosts Sterling found a way to pull out a dramatic, 8-7 win over Clear Falls to wrap day one of three set for the event with a 1-1 record.

Then word came down: The tournament’s final two days were scrapped due to area-wide concerns about the coronavirus and the health threat it posed.

Sterling head coach Adam Shibley was disappointed to find out the decision after spending most of the offseason to set up the four-site tournament.

“I am heartbroken really,” Shibley said. “A lot of my summer was putting this together and we had some really exciting matchups and it was good for the kids, the community and the fans. Everyone was excited to take part and were guaranteed games unless there was a virus outbreak. It’s sad for the kids.

“Obviously safety comes first so it’s OK since that is No. 1.”

The Rangers (10-3) ended the day on a high note, bouncing back from a 5-3 loss in the morning to Pasadena Dobie, to stop Clear Falls hopes of a shock rally win, when a Julian Garcia double brought home Jadon Wright in the bottom of the seventh inning to record the win.

It also made an early 6-0 lead hold up.

“I am never going to complain about a win and I liked the aggressive nature with which we started, but I was not too happy with the lull in focus in the middle innings,” Shibley said. “We let a team hang around where they finally broke through. Eventually they are going to crack through.

“Thank goodness we were able to battle back and win it. Tough competition can make you look a little less quality and and we will never talk like a win is an easy thing to do. We still found a way.”

Host Barbers Hill (11-2) won its lone game, 1-0 against La Porte.

Cameron Hunt pitched six innings of four-hit ball, striking out six to lead the Eagles to the win. Simon Larranaga’s single drove home Connor Dunham with the winning run in the seventh inning.

“We had two good pitching performances on our end,” Barbers Hill head coach David Denny said. “Then Maddox Malone did a good job for the save. Their guy did a good job until they brought in a reliever and we loaded the bases in the seventh.

“We are in a good place. Pitchers are where they are supposed to be and the hitters are starting to get warmed up. We are playing good defense. We are where we are supposed to be. We believe they will take care of business off the field and whenever we get back together again they will pick up where they left off.”

Other tournament hosts, Goose Creek Memorial and Robert E. Lee lost their games in the tournament with the Patriots (3-10) falling to Deer Park, 15-3, and the Ganders (3-4) dropped a 9-2 decision to Alief Hastings.

Coaches were disheartened with the situation and the residual effect it had on the tournament and future play which is in question.

“All the coaches are disappointed; we needed this,” GCM head coach Brian Williams said. “I could handle not playing Saturday, but it would have been nice to play the two games Friday since we were supposed to start district Tuesday. It’s not a whole lot we could do about it. But you have to err on the side of caution.”

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