The East Texas Pump Jacks’ up-and-down inaugural season continue Tuesday night with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the first-place McKinney Marshals at Driller Park.
The defeat was the team’s third straight after winning four of the previous five games. The silver lining is that the Jacks should be poised to make another run, and with the playoffs around the corner, anything is possible.
Tuesday’s game was the first of a six-day homestand that will end the regular season. The TCL playoffs are slated to begin next Tuesday, August 5, and East Texas is guaranteed a spot. If the regular season were to end now, the third-place Jacks would host the second-place Coppell Copperheads at Driller Park in Game One of the first round on August 5. Should the Jacks streak through the remainder of the season and finish in second place, East Texas would have home-field advantage in the first round and host Game Two on August 6 and, if necessary, Game Three on August 7.
That playoff scenario wasn’t far from everyone’s mind on Tuesday, especially when the Pump Jacks picked up a lead in the second inning. Paige Hodges, Josh Riley, and J.D. Dunn hit consecutive singles to open the frame, scoring Hodges and putting runners at first and second. Logan Moro walked to load the bases on out later. After Jared Wondra lined out, Adam De La Garza punched a two-out single to center that scored a pair and upped the lead to 3-0.
Unfortunately, that was as much offense as East Texas could generate. McKinney starter Jake Wortham gave up only two more hits in the next six innings, giving the Marshals a chance to claw back.
While Wortham got off to a shaky start, Pump Jacks starter Clint Helms opened strong. He held the Marshals scoreless through four innings and had retired five straight entering the fifth. But Helms ran into trouble in the fifth inning, giving up three runs on a walk and three singles. He was lifted with two outs for Hunter Harris, who got out of the jam with the score tied.
Helms left the game after tossing 4 2/3 innings and giving up three runs on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.
It wasn’t long before Harris ran into some trouble of his own. In the seventh inning, he allowed an RBI single that scored an unearned run. He gave up a single to open the eighth before being replaced by Matt Shelton. Three batters later, that leadoff single scored on a wild pitch.
Harris (1-2) went a total of 2 1/3 innings, surrendering two runs – only one earned – on three hits. He walked one and struck out two. Shelton delivered one hitless inning, striking out one and walking one.
Newcomer Alex Braly made his first appearance of the season in the ninth. The Tyler native and junior out of Northwood University gave up a hit and walk but no runs in the final frame.
East Texas was outhit by McKinney, 8-6, and half of those hits came off the bat of Hodges. Playing third base Tuesday, Hodges went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, his third multi-hit game in his last five.
De La Garza went 1-for-3 with two RBI, and Riley and Dunn also picked up singles.
The Pump Jacks face the Marshals again on Wednesday night for Pump Jacks Pride Wednesday. Fans can get half-price grandstand tickets at the gate just by wearing their Pump Jacks gear. Wear a hat, a T-shirt – even something made at home – and get in the gates for just half price.
The Brazos Valley Bombers continue the homestand on Thursday and Friday with a pair of fan-favorite promotions. Thursday is Thirsty Thursday, featuring draft beers for just one dollar and 50-cent soft drinks all night long. That’s right: 50 cents gets a cool Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper, and it’s only one dollar for an ice-cold draft beer, only on Thirsty Thursday.
Friday night is the final Fireworks Friday of the regular season. The first three post-game have lit up the East Texas sky and drawn rave reviews from fans. This is the last chance to catch a fireworks show in the area until quite possibly next summer, so don’t miss the chance to enjoy Fireworks Friday. And log on to pumpjacksbaseball.com to vote for the theme of this Friday’s unique soundtrack!
Saturday welcomes the Coppell Copperheads in a possible playoff preview – as well as a great new giveaway. The Pump Jacks will be giving away keepsake posters commemorating the team’s inaugural season and its players in a stylish collage of action photos. Posters will be given to the first 750 fans through the Driller Park gates, so fans are encouraged to arrive early.
Sunday, the final home game of the regular season, will be yet another Pump Jacks Family Night, the best deal for food and entertainment in East Texas. A family of four can get grandstand tickets for $12 – that’s up to 40% off! For $13 more, add a meal package consisting of a hot dog, chips, and a drink for everyone in the party. That’s four tickets for $12, or four tickets and four meals for $25, for the final game of the regular season.
Although the playoff seeding is still taking shape, it’s clear the postseason will open on August 5. If the Jacks remain in third place, Game One of the first round will take place at Driller Park. Season ticket holders may purchase a ticket package for all possible playoff games by contacting the Pump Jacks office. Playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public this weekend.
Fans may purchase tickets at the Pump Jacks office at 1100 Stone Road, Suite 120, in Kilgore, or over the phone at (903) 218-GO ET. Tickets may also be purchased online – and printed at home on any home printer – by visiting www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.
Single-game tickets start at $5 each – or $4 for children and seniors – for grandstand general admission tickets. Upper Box seats are $8 each, and Lower Box seats, which feature in-your-seat wait service, are only $10 per ticket.