O’Connor evens best-of-three series with Reagan

The Panthers’ rally sends Region IV semifinals to decisive Game 3

SAN ANTONIO – The O’Connor Panthers’ season was hanging on by a thread.

After dropping Game 1 of their UIL Class 6A Region IV semifinal series to Reagan, the Rattlers jumped on the Panthers early in Game 2.

With runners on the corners and O’Connor up 1-0 in the third inning, Rattler outfielder Caden Crofts hit a fly ball that was caught in foul territory. Reagan’s Jeter Battles decided to tag from third base and was able to beat the throw to home plate to tie the game.

Javier Cuevas, who began the play on first base, wanted to force an errant throw by going from first to third base. O’Connor, indeed, threw it wild in an attempt to beat Cuevas to third base. Cuevas scored, giving the Rattlers a 2-1 advantage.

However, two innings later with the game squared at 2, O’Connor shortstop James O’Connor split the left-center field gap with a run-scoring double to give the Panthers a lead they would hold onto for good.

O’Connor forced a winner-take-all Game 3 with Reagan thanks to its 3-2 win on Friday night. The Panthers and Rattlers will duel one last time at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wolff Stadium.

“It was insane. The crowd was going crazy,” O’Connor said. “I’ve never played in (front of) a crowd like this before. Last year, we only got (sic) to round three. This is 10 times better than that, so I was happy that I could do it for my team and do it for our fans.”

“It’s what you talk about with your guys on a daily basis, and it’s what we’ve dreamed about,” O’Connor head baseball coach Weston Heiligman said. “We’ve given ourselves a shot — we gave ourselves a shot for a shot at Dell (Diamond in Austin). That’s what we’re excited about.”

Saturday night’s winner will face the Johnson Jaguars, who swept their Class 6A regional semifinals series against the La Joya Coyotes.

Read more reporting and watch highlights and full games on the Big Game Coverage page.

About the Authors

Nate Kotisso joined KSAT as a digital journalist in 2024. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter in the Rio Grande Valley for more than two years and spent nearly three years as a digital producer at the CBS station in Oklahoma City.

Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004.

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