Pearland sweeps Clear Lake to move on to face Atascocita


PEARLAND — The Pearland Oilers run-ruled Clear Lake 11-1 in their first game of the best-of-three series and that initial win would have given the impression that they would have completely dominated the Falcons in the second game to sweep the series.

That could have been a sense of false security as Clear Lake, who has a traditionally rich baseball history, wasn't going to go down that easily as Pearland head coach Chase Wheaton and his diamondmen found out in the second contest.

It took Pearland's final at bat in the seventh inning to pull out a 4-3 win to advance to the area round to face the Atascocita Eagles on Thursday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m. at Crosby High School.

"Anybody can beat anybody at this point," the first-year Oilers head coach said. "Atascocita is a great program. We've got to get some things cleaned up and then get ready for a very good team."

As for Clear Lake, the Oilers had to get their minds right in order to not see the Falcons as a team that was going to be an easy sweep.

"Early on, it started raining on us in batting practice, and we got out of our routine," Wheaton said. "I just told the guys that the good teams overcome that type of stuff.

"We came out a little flat, but hats off to Clear Lake and coach Rogers. Those guys were taking hits away from us right and left in the outfield with outstanding plays.

"Clear Lake had a great plan from the outset and attacked the fastball."

The Falcons jumped on Pearland starting pitcher Mason Lytle early in the opening frame by scoring three runs and it appeared that the rout might be reversed after the 11-1 pounding the Oilers gave Lake in the first game.

The Falcons used a two-run homer and an RBI single to get the 3-0 advantage.

However, the first inning proved to be the wake up call for Lytle as he settled down, trusted his teammates offensively and defensively, and shutout the Falcons the rest of the game.

The Oilers would battle their way back in the game with two runs in the top of the fifth.

Pearland was shutout until the fifth inning when they cut the lead to 3-2.

Trey Maeker walked and Brandon Sliwinski was hit by a pitch. After the runners were moved up to second and third, Shawn Huber hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 3-1 score.

Lytle then beat out an infield hit, allowing another run to come home to make it 3-2.

Trailing 3-2 entering the top the seventh, the Oilers took advantage of their final opportunity.

Helindo Moreno opened the inning with a walk, Lytle drives a one-out single to right which was misplayed allowing Moreno to score from first to tie up the game 3-3.

Cole Smajstrla was then hit by a pitch and Clayton Broeder beat out an infield grounder to load up the bases before Chad Allen delivered his sacrifice fly to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead that would eventually give Pearland the win.

Lytle would get a strike out, a fielder's choice out, and a final pop out to retire the Falcons for the victory. Lytle struck out five and allowed six hits in a stellar performance.

"Mason overcame a bad first inning, settled down, and we knew it was his game at the end," Wheaton said. "We can sleep at night when we know the ball is in his hands. It was a very tough game, and we just found a way at the end."

Top hitters for Pearland were Lytle (2-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI), Moreno (1-for-2, 1 run), and Allen (1-for-2, 1 RBI).