The El Campo Ricebirds got timely hitting and good pitching to help them shut out the Wharton Tigers 8-0 on the road in the final district game of the year.
El Campo’s season will continue after locking down the fourth-place seed in District 24-4A. Wharton missed the playoffs finishing fifth.
Wharton put the ball in play throughout the night but ran into tough defense from Ricebird junior shortstop Kyle Barosh’s fielding, recoding eight outs.
El Campo started their scoring in the top of the second inning. Ricebird junior Reed Jung walked and senior Jack Dorotik singled, putting runners on the corner.
Ricebird sophomore Oliver Miles sent the ball up the middle hitting Tiger senior Blaine Zulauf in the leg. Zulauf regrouped, grabbed the ball and got the first out, with Jung scoring the first run.
El Campo senior Evan Estrada lined a ball into centerfield, one of his two hits in the game, giving the Ricebirds a 2-0 lead.
Wharton got a ground out on the next play for the second out of the inning.
The Ricebirds offense picked up three two-out hits, including doubles from Barosh and sophomore Dean Poenitzsch, increasing their lead to five runs before the inning ended.
Wharton got two base runners on the next three innings, but El Campo escaped without damage.
For the fifth time in the game, the Tigers had two runners on in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and walks from sophomore Kendon Mayberry and junior Carter Levi on the corners and El Campo defenders pinched in, Wharton hit a rocket to Barosh, who made a quick dive to grab the ball. He popped up and threw home to get the runner and keep the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Miles and junior Bryce Rasmussen limited Wharton’s bats, holding them to six hits across seven innings.
Wharton junior Ryan Cruz had three hits and a steal.
Dorotik, Estrada and Poenitzsch all had two hits for El Campo.
Wharton will bring back an experienced team next season, with only two seniors in Ryan Guzman and Zulauf.