Bunch, Broncos Barrel by Ballinger Late to Clinch Playoff Berth
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Nearly a year to the day, Sonora was in the same situation as their 2018 campaign -- stuck in a play-in game for their playoff lives. This time, behind timely hitting by senior Hunter Bunch, Sonora prevailed with a 7-6 win over Ballinger at Central's Nathan Donsky Field.
"It definitely left a sour taste in our mouths last year," Sonora head coach Jay Immell said. "We've been wanting to get to this point all year. All of these guys were ready to play. I'm very proud of them."
Immell jokingly called his team as the cardiac kids in his postgame interview, referencing how they took the lead in the sixth inning before allowing the go-ahead run to get on with two outs in the seventh inning.
Bunch hit a ground ball to shortstop that was airmailed by Ballinger's Jon Marcon, causing a collision between Bunch and Cole Zentner. That enabled to go-ahead runs to score and put Sonora up 7-5. Jay Morales tied the game earlier on a passed ball.
Bunch would finish the day 1-for-3 with Sonora's lone RBI. His patience at the plate is coming through in the clutch, Immell says.
"He's seeing the ball really well right now," Immell said. "He's a very streaky hitter. He's peaking at the right time and that's good for our team. He had a great day in the field and in the batter's box."
Eddie Infante thrived at the plate today, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Jalen Lopez was the only other Bronco to tally a multi-hit game at 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
But Sonora's pitching helped pave the way. After Logan McDonald gritted out three innings where he allowed three runs, Daniel Gonzales picked up the win in four innings of relief. Gonzales would allow three runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
"Logan's done a great job for us all year. When he's on the mound, we have our best defense," Immell said. "Then Daniel came in and pitched well. I'm very proud of both of those guys."
Cooper Bean was one of the biggest upsides for the Bearcats Tuesday night, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Their biggest upside was starting pitcher Jon Marcon, who allowed four runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts. He exited the game in line for the win until Sonora came back.
Sonora will face Alpine in the bi-district round of playoffs.
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