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George Ranch title bid stopped in state semi by Victoria East

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Just three years into the school's athletic history, the baseball team from George Ranch High School in Richmond found themselves in the UIL Class 4A state baseball tournament on Thursday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

But in the state semifinal matchup, the George Ranch Longhorns ran into a team in the Victoria East Titans that had more experience under their belts. By one whole school year.

The extra year must have paid off.

In the game that featured a pair of young and upcoming baseball programs, the Titans got a strong outing from senior righthanded pitcher Kyle Craft and shut down the high-powered George Ranch lineup on three hits in a 4-1 win that ended the season for the Longhorns.

Craft retired the first seven batters he faced in the game and allowed just a single unearned run to the Horns, who had averaged over eight runs per contest throughout their Region III-4A playoff run.

Senior Grant Page got the start on the mound for George Ranch and struggled in the top of the first inning, allowing a pair of runs to East.

The Titans added another run in the third to increase their lead to 3-0 before Alex Shaver's RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth brought home the only run of the game for the Longhorns. Shaver had two of the three hits for George Ranch in the game.

Mason Tipton added an insurance run, and capped the 11-hit attack for the Titans, with a solo run home run that bumped the lead to 4-1.

Though the Horns would see a glimmer of hope to start the last half of the seventh when Jonathan Kastens reached on an error to lead off the frame, Craft coaxed a double-play ground ball from Brady Burns and a ground out by Will Gay to close out the game.

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the District 23-4A champions, who knocked out perennial baseball powerhouse and seven-time state champion Brenham in the III-4A final round last week.

Page (8-3) went the distance for George Ranch in defeat. He allowed three earned runs on 11 hits, walked one batter and struck out three.

The Longhorns finished the best season in the school's brief history with a 33-8 record.

Victoria East (30-9) advances to play Aledo, which defeated Hallsville 9-1 in the other 4A state semifinal on Thursday, for the state championship on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. at Dell Diamond and will be broadcast at www.foxsportssouthwest.com.

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