GRAND PRAIRIE — Sophomore Kaleb Roper pitched five-hit shutout ball for eight innings and struck 12 as San Jacinto defeated the Navarro Bulldogs, 6-0, in a Region XIV Baseball Tournament Quarterfinal game Sunday at AirHog Stadium.
Roper, a University of Arizona transfer, threw 123 pitches and sent the Bulldogs spiraling to their second shutout loss of the season — one that dropped them into tournament’s elimination bracket.
Navarro (29-24-1) next faces South Zone second-seed Galveston (35-21) in a 1 pm Monday survival match. Should the Bulldogs win that game, they would play an 8 pm Monday contest against the winner of an elimination game between East Zone foes Panola and Paris.
Roper (7-3, 1.75), grew stronger as the game went on. At one point, he had struck five of six batters he faced. Reliever Ben Butler came on for the ninth, and, despite some difficulties, managed to strike out the side and preserve the shutout.
On March 6 in a non-conference game at Houston, San Jacinto posted the other shutout against NC — a 6-0 win behind starter Hunter McClellan and 3 Gator relievers at John Ray Harrison Field.
Sunday, Navarro starter Tate Gillespie and four relievers (Asher Cook, Eric Sandoz, Ivan Ulloa and Dalton Blake) combined to give up nine hits and eight walks during the game.
San Jacinto rightfielder Aaron Bond drove in the Gators’ first run in the top of the third with a two-out single to centerfield on a 2-2 pitch that scored second baseman Luke Watson. Watson had reached on a two-out fielding error and stole his 10th base of the season to get into scoring position.
In the fourth, designated hitter Wyatt Cross drilled his sixth home run of the year — a two-run shot that gave SJC a 3-0 lead it maintained until the ninth.
SCORE BY INNINGS:
San Jacinto (41-16) 001 200 003 — 6-9-0 (10 LOB)
Navarro (29-24-1) 000 000 000 — 0-5-2 (8 LOB)
WP – Roper. LP: Gillespie.
HR – SJC: Cross (6).
REGION XIV BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Galveston 13, Blinn 7 (Blinn eliminated)
Paris 10, Alvin 4 (Alvin eliminated)
Angelina 9, Panola 1 (8 innings)
San Jacinto 6, Navarro 0
REGION XIV TOURNAMENT
Paris v Panola, 10 am
Navarro v Galveston, 1 pm
Angelina v San Jacinto, 5 pm
Paris-Panola winner v Navarro-Galveston winner, 8 pm