Rio Sports Live

London headed to state final after decisive win over Brock

By MARK MOLINA | Rio Sports Live

ROUND ROCK — While the London Pirates are new to the state tournament, they conducted themselves like grizzled veterans as stared an early two-run deficit to the Brock Eagles in the face and didn’t flinch.

Down by a run after one inning, the Pirates posted six-run bottom of the second and rode a two-hit complete game effort from Kade Budd to a 7-2 state semifinal win over the Eagles Friday morning at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

The win gives London athletics its first victory at any state tournament and now will move on to the 3A state title game against the winner of Gunter and Malakoff.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” London co-head coach Kevin Carr said. “I just know that we’re playing tomorrow in the championship. Our boys have been doing this all year and this has been their goal since Day 1. This is an awesome feeling right now — I’m at a loss for words.”

Budd, who picked up the win and is now 13-0 on the mound this season, tossed a gem, allowing two hits, one earned run and struck out 10 batters with just two walks.

“I knew our offense would come out and put up runs,” Budd said. “I wasn’t worried about those early runs. I knew if I went out there and threw strikes, my offense would have my back. They did and we won the game. We worked for this all season. This is what you dream of as a kid, to come out here to the state tournament and it feels amazing.”

After allowing a triple to Brock’s Tyler Moody and watching home get stolen twice to fall into a 2-0, Budd settled in and proceeded to throw six scoreless innings.

It’s that kind of poise that Carr said comes with his team’s gritty youth.

“I think that’s where our youth helps us,” Carr said. “We’re so young, I don’t think our kids know better in this situation. They just come out here and wanna have fun and play the game of baseball. Kade Budd has been doing this all year for us. He didn’t have his best arm last time, but it was a blessing in disguise because he only threw 23 pitches last series so he was well-rested for this one.”

London trailed 2-0 after the top of the first inning but answered with a run in the bottom with an RBi single to score Mason Arispe, but that would be just the start.

Arispe would come back to the plate in the bottom of the second and belt a two-RBI single to right center field to bring in Cole Scheutz and Henry Sepulveda to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

After Arispe came on a Budd ground out to make it 4-2, Salinas came up big again, this time on a two-RBI double to left field to make it 6-2. Salinas crossed home plate to make it 7-2 on a Brock fielding error to cap the big inning.

“We know when we get down, we could come back at any moment; we have a good lineup,” Salinas said. “We did today and we executed — we had to. We have a lot of confidence going into any game. If we play right, we can take home a championship.”

Salinas was 3 for 2 with three RBI and a run scored, while Arispe finished 1 for 3 with two RBI and two runs scored. As a team, London totaled seven hits and six earned runs.

The Class 3A state championship game is scheduled for Saturday morning with the first pitch at 9 a.m.