The offensive power and strong pitching of the No. 6 McLennan Highlanders was on display on Opening Day at Bosque River Ballpark as the squad began their 2018 campaign with a doubleheader sweep of the Angelina Roadrunners.
Sophomore Bailey Horn recorded four shutout innings with seven strikeouts for the win as the Highlanders run-ruled the Roadrunners 10-0 in game one.
The Highlanders put four runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Payton Grassanovits and Griffin Paxton led off with back-to-back singles. Brooks Embry was then safe at first on an error by the Angelina shortstop, loading the bases. Aidan Shepardson followed with a three-run triple. Shepardson then scored on sacrifice fly by George Callil.
Two more Highlander runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning. Shepardson and Callil both singled. Dylan Neuse followed with a single to score Shepardson. Grant Miller walked to load the bases. Callil then scored on a sacrifice fly by Breaux.
McLennan sealed the win with three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Callil and Neuse both singled and scored on the walk-off homerun by Miller.
Sophomore Logan Freeman also pitched four shutout innings to get the win in the Highlanders' 13-1 run-rule win of game two.
McLennan scored two runs in the second as Milford walked and scored on Grassanovits' homerun.
The Highlanders doubled their lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Thomas Santos doubled and scored on a single by Embry. Callil and Neuse both singled to score Embry.
Angelina's only run of the day came in the top of the sixth inning as Alex Ashby tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Kochakian.
McLennan scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the victory. Payton Strambler walked, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Jackson Nichols. Callil walked and Nichols came around to score on a passed ball. Neuse walked and Paxton was safe on a misplayed fielder's choice to load the bases. Breaux followed with the grand slam. Grassanovits singled and Santos was safe at first on an error by the Roadrunners' first baseman. Nichols followed with the three-run walk-off homerun.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of the season openers. To come out of the thing with two wins and outscore your opponents 23-1 is obviously a great start to the season. I'm very proud of our pitchers; I thought our guys threw the ball exceptionally well. We made routine plays and showed some good thump at the plate, hitting several balls out of the ballpark and competing very well. It's a long year and we've got a lot to build on. There's a lot of things to improve but overall you've got to be very pleased with the first day and two run-rule wins," coach Mitch Thompson said.
McLennan 10, Angelina 0
Angelina 000 00 – 0 2 1
McLennan 041 23 – 10 11 1
Garrett Hermann, Kyle Allen (4) and Sam Gotlieb. Bailey Horn, Nick Urbantke (5) and Josh Breaux. WP: Horn; LP: Hermann. Leading hitters – Angelina: Christian Leonard (1-2) and Sam Haley (1-2); McLennan: Dylan Neuse (2-4, RBI), Grant Miller (1-3, HR, 3 RBI), Josh Breaux (0-0, RBI), Keaton Milford (2-2), Griffin Paxton (1-3, RBI), Aidan Shepardson (2-3, 3B, 3 RBI) and George Callil (2-2, RBI). Record: McLennan 1-0.
McLennan 13, Angelina 1
Angelina 000 001 – 1 3 1
McLennan 020 209 – 13 11 0
Lance Lusk, Jarod Sprinkle (5), Jacob Mead (6), J.T. Miques (6) and Garrett Boes. Logan Freeman, Grant Miller (5) and Jackson Nichols. WP: Freeman; LP: Lusk. Leading hitters – Angelina: Brett Mugavaro (1-3, 2B), Alex Ashby (1-2, 3B) and Garrett Kochakian (0-1, RBI); McLennan: Dylan Neuse (1-3, RBI), Josh Breaux (1-4, HR, 4 RBI), Peyton Grassanovits (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), Thomas Santos (1-4, 2B), Brooks Embry (2-2, RBI) and Jackson Nichols (2-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI). Record: McLennan 2-0.