HS Watch: Maldonado, Pioneer Advance to State

Evan Maldonado of the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks
Evan Maldonado throws the first pitch of Game 2 Friday night.

Sharyland High School and Sharyland Pioneer met in Edinburg at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley baseball field for their Texas 5A best-of-three playoff series this week . . . Thursday saw the stadium filled to capacity, some fans had to be turned away and ended up beyond the outfield fences looking in with cameras and binoculars just so they would have a view.

Cougars commit Evan Maldonado put his signature all over this series between local rivals for the chance to advance to the state tournament in Austin next week.

In game one of the series on Thursday night, Evan Maldonado, batting fifth in the order, hit a homerun over the left field fence to give Pioneer a 2-1 lead . . . For Maldonado it was only his second homerun all year . . . The Pioneer Diamondbacks would take a 7-3 lead into the seventh inning and would eventually hold on to win the game 7-6 and take a 1-0 series lead.

Friday night was a much different affair . . . Maldonado was on the mound for the Diamondbacks, and he was in the batting lineup . . . Both teams scored in the first, with a run scoring against Maldonado on a fly ball that was dropped by the center fielder allowing a runner from second to score on the error . . . That was the only run the Sharyland Rattlers would score on the night, and it was the last time the score was close.

Maldonado led off the third inning with a double down the third base line, and he would eventually score the fifth Diamondback run to give them a 5-1 advantage.

The Diamondbacks scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 11-1 lead, which meant the Rattlers of Sharyland needed to score a run to extend the game . . . Evan Maldonado was not having any of that as he shut the door on the Rattlers and their season, and helped Pioneer punch their ticket to Austin and the state baseball tournament next weekend . . . Maldonado pitched the complete five inning game allowing just the one run. –

. . . . . . . . . . . .  1   2   3   4   5   6   7    –   R 
Pioneer            0   1   0   1   1   2   2     –    7

Sharyland        0   1   0   0   0   2   3     –     6

. . . . . . . . . . . .  1   2   3   4   5    –   R
Sharyland        1   0   0   2   0    –   1

Pioneer             1   3   1   6   –    –    11


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