Stephenville junior Brad Picha went toe-to-toe with returning 8-4A MVP Kole Loftin on the hill Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough for the Yellow Jackets in a 6-1 loss to begin District 8-4A play.
“Brad pitched a really good ball game,” said Stephenville coach Steve Carroll. “Unfortunately, we made some bad errors at critical times that allowed them to score some runs.”
Aledo tallied five unearned runs off three Stephenville errors to spoil Picha’s seven strikeout, four-hit performance. The junior made it 4-1/3 innings before getting in trouble in the fifth, forcing Carroll to go to the bull pen.
Stephenville scored its only run in the top of the second to take a brief 1-0 advantage. Nic Young and Danny Moss posted back-to-back singles to begin the rally. Aledo then helped the Jackets’ cause by misfiring on a pick off move that allowed Young to sprint past third into home.
The Bearcats bounced back in the bottom of the second with a pair of runs to lead 2-1, then took advantage of back-to-back Yellow Jacket errors to make it 4-1 in the fourth. AHS tacked on two more in the fifth to close the book on Picha and Stephenville.
The loss for the Jackets came on the heels of a weather-shortened tournament in Brownood. Rain outs on Friday and more inclement weather on Saturday forced games to be played under the 1-hour, 45-minute drop-dead rule. Stephenville shut out Liberty Hill, 2-0, tied with Red Oak, 5-5, and lost to Brownwood, 6-3.
“Brownwood is another team who was in the playoffs last year,” Carroll said. “We’ve been playing against some very good competition, and it doesn’t get any easier. Five of the teams in our district are ranked in the area polls.”
The Jackets return home against Alvarado at 7 p.m. on Friday.