Highlanders wallop Weatherford

Highlanders wallop Weatherford

The McLennan Highlanders kept their regional championship dreams alive with a 17-9 win over the Weatherford Coyotes Monday night in Lubbock. The win forced a winner-take-all game at 1 p.m. Tuesday with the last team standing earning a berth to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado, later this month. 

McLennan looked like a team of men on a mission: keep their season alive and move one step closer to a second regional title in three years.

Nick Urbantke got the win on the mound with a team effort from Hunter Spaeth, Brady Childress, Coleman Beazley, Connor Heffron and Palmer Wenzel to pitch in relief to secure the victory.

The Highlanders jumped out early scoring three runs in the top of the second. Nic Motley walked and Brendan Venter singled. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Griffin Paxton. Cole Haring followed with a single to score Motley, and Nick Thornquist drew a walk. George Callil followed with a fielder's choice, putting Venter out at the plate. Chris Roller then singled to score Haring and Thornquist.

McLennan increased their lead with two runs in the third. Motley drew another walk and Venter was hit by the pitch. Again, both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Paxton. Thornquist then singled to score Motley and Venter. 

Weatherford scored three runs in the bottom of the third. Lachlan Mayo singled, Dezmond Chumley walked and Jake Michener bunted for a single to load the bases. Malik Jones followed with a single to score Mayo. Chumley and Michener then scored on sacrifice flies by Payton Rhodes and Andrew Keefer.

The Highlanders responded with four runs in the top of the fourth. Roller singled and scored on a Joe Breaux home run. Josh Breaux was safe at first on a Weatherford error and Motley singled. Venter followed with a double to score Josh Breaux and Motley.

The Coyotes added a run in the fifth as Jones reached first safely on an error, moved around to third on a single by Rhodes and scored on another sacrifice fly by Keefer.

McLennan exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning to break the game open. Motley walked and scored on a two-run bomb by Venter. Paxton drew a walk, Haring singled and Thornquist walked to load the bases. Callil was safe at first on another Weatherford error, bringing Paxton and Haring in to score. Roller walked to load the bases. Joe Breaux followed with a double to score Thornquist, Callil and Roller. Josh Breaux drew a walk and Joe Breaux scored on a sacrifice fly by Venter.

Weatherford scored two in the bottom of the sixth. Mayo singled and Chumley doubled. Mayo came in to score on a passed ball, and Chumley scored on a double by Rhodes.

The Coyotes rounded out the scoring with three runs in the seventh. Landon Gray, Dalton Dunn and Jaime Lovell all walked to load the bases. Mayo grounded out to score Gray, and Chumley walked to reload the bases. Michener then singled to score Dunn and Lovell.

McLennan 17, Weatherford 9
McLennan    032 408 000 – 17 16 1
Weatherford 003 012 300 – 9 12 3
Nick Urbantke, Hunter Spaeth (3), Brady Childress (5), Coleman Beazley (7), Connor Heffron (7), Palmer Wenzel (8) and Nick Thornquist. Mitchell Walters, Toby Davis (3), Tyler Perez (4), Dylan Smith (5), Garrett Hale (6), Corbin Bozosi (6), Zach Boyett (8) and Jaime Lovell. WP: Childress; LP: Walters. Leading hitters – McLennan: Chris Roller (3-6, 2 RBI), Joe Breaux (2-4, 2B, HR, 5 RBI), Brendan Venter (4-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI), Cole Haring (3-6, RBI), Nick Thornquist (2-4, 2 RBI) and George Callil (0-4, 2 RBI); Weatherford: Malik Jones (2-5, RBI), Payton Rhodes (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Andrew Keefer (0-3, 2 RBI), Dalton Dunn (2-2), Jaime Lovell (1-4, 2B), Lachlan Mayo (2-4, RBI), Dezmond Chumley (1-3, 2B) and Jake Michener (2-5, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 50-11 (26-6).