SHINER – For the fifth consecutive year, Taylor met its demise Friday in the area round.
The Ducks swung for the fences with three home runs – two by Cole Harms – over two games, but were still swept by Sealy in a Class 4A area playoff series at Shiner Starplex.
Harms, who finished the series 4-for-5 from the plate with three runs batted in, nearly guided Taylor to a Game 1 upset of the Tigers.
Sealy, ranked No. 22 in Texas High School Baseball's final state poll of the season, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run double by Garret Zaskoda, but Harms leveled the score in the bottom of the frame with a two-run homer to left field.
Two batters later, the fireworks continued as Brian Hodges launched a solo shot over the fence in center field to give the Ducks a 3-2 edge.
Sealy tied things up in the third inning on a hard ground ball by Zaskoda that forced an error, but once again, Taylor responded.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, Zachary Arzola stole third base and made his way home on a throwing error by the catcher to put the Ducks back on top.
Taylor (15-18-1) added another run in the fifth. After reaching on a single earlier in the inning, Matt Hortenstine scored on a groundout by Reece Kennick to make it a 5-3 game heading into the top of the sixth.
From that point on, however, it was all Sealy.
The Tigers caught fire with six hits, including a go-ahead home run by pitcher Hunter Kelley, over the final two innings to rally for a 7-5 victory.
The late surge spoiled a solid start by Harms, who allowed just three hits through the first five innings of play.
Sealy stayed hot in Game 2, racking up 10 more hits en route to a 13-3 run-rule win.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, Taylor went back and forth with the Tigers early on.
Harms staked the Ducks to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the top of the first. Sealy answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a single by Zaskoda and a sacrifice fly by Kelley, but the Ducks quickly retook the lead.
Cameron Barcuch led off the second inning with a single, stole second base and then scored on a double by Reid Ramirez to tie the game at 2-2. Three batters later, Isaac Rivera put Taylor back on top with an RBI single.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, it was their final run of the night.
Zaskoda, a Rice commit, shook off a rough start on the mound and allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.
Sealy, meanwhile, was just heating up from the plate. The Tigers scored five runs in the bottom of the second and six more in the fourth to complete a two-game sweep of Taylor.
They will open up a best-of-three, regional quarterfinal series with Liberty Hill on Thursday in Cameron.