ROUND ROCK — Sharyland Pioneer’s historic run to the state tournament came to an end Thursday night as Georgetown, the No. 4 team in the nation according to Max Preps National Baseball Rankings, defeated the Diamondbacks 8-2 in the semifinals of the UIL 5A state tournament at Dell Diamond.
The Diamondbacks were not only up against one of the top teams in the country, but against a sea of Georgetown blue in the crowd as the Eagles played a virtual home game with their high school just 15.3 miles and an 18-minute drive away from Dell Diamond. The number of supporters from the Rio Grande Valley and Georgetown fans combined to pack the house with 7,744 in attendance.
“Our backs have been against the wall numerous times. It’s just something we’ve always overcame,” senior shortstop Jacob Rosales said. “This time, it was something we couldn’t overcome, but I’m glad we didn’t quit.”
Sharyland Pioneer set the tone out of the gate as the first two Diamondbacks reached base, setting up Rosales to drive in the game’s first run on a base hit that scored Juan Rivera. Rosales, the starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks, went on to strike out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the first.
But the Diamondbacks couldn’t keep the Eagles off the board for long. Georgetown scored one run in the second and fourth innings before exploding for six more in the bottom of the fifth on six hits and two errors to take a commanding 8-1 advantage.
Pioneer fought back to score one more run in the top of the sixth, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Pioneer coach Casey Smith said even in defeat, the Diamondbacks showed what “Valley Boys” are about.
“It’s like we told them when they came in and scored those runs, I said ‘guys, we’re Valley Boys,’” Smith said. “I think that characterizes who we are — that fight that we got in the Rio Grande Valley and in our kids. We’re going to come and battle. I told them we’re going to be Valley Boys, not just when we’re doing well, but when the chips are down too. We’re going to continue to fight and continue to battle, and I couldn’t be prouder of them for continuing the fight.”
Sharyland Pioneer’s run to Round Rock ends in the 5A state semifinals as the Diamondbacks finish the year 37-9 record, the first 30-plus win season in the program’s five years.
“We just showed that teams from the Valley can get there. The RGV is nothing to overlook, there’s nothing we can’t do. State’s a big deal around the entire state, and it’s something we take a lot of pride in in the Rio Grande Valley,” Rosales said.