The No. 3 San Jacinto Gators and No. 6 McLennan Highlanders squared off this afternoon for a pair of ballgames at Bosque River Ballpark, and each team came away with a victory.
The Highlanders defeated the Gators 4-2 in the first game with Grant Miller getting the win on the mound.
San Jacinto scored its first run on Nick Neville's solo home run in the top of the third inning.
The Highlanders tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third as George Callil drew a walk, advanced around to third on an error by the San Jac pitcher and scored on a passed ball.
San Jac took the lead with a run in the top of the fifth. Neville singled and moved around to third on a Highlander error. Alerick Soularie and Sergio Macias then drew back-to-back walks, bringing Neville in to score.
McLennan scored two runs in the fifth to take the 3-2 lead. Aidan Shepardson singled and scored on a double by Callil. Callil then moved to third on a fly out by Dylan Neuse and scored on a double by Griffin Paxton.
San Jac bounced back to defeat McLennan 2-1 in the nightcap with Tristen Bayless taking the loss on the mound for the Highlanders.
The Gators scored one run in the top of the first as Silas bunted for a single, moved around to third on a double by Soularie and scored on a wild pitch.
San Jac's final run came in the third inning as Soularie singled, moved around to third on a single by Peter Zimmerman and scored on a single by Mario Moralez.
Neuse's solo home run in the sixth would prove to be the Highlanders' only run of the contest.
"The thing you saw today was two junior college teams going toe-to-toe. I can promise that if you would have told me before that there would be nine runs scored in the doubleheader between the two teams with the wind blowing out 10-15 mph, then I would have thought you were crazy," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "I think both teams think that they can hit; and I think both teams can hit. You've got to give a lot of credit to both teams' pitchers. I know we are better off for having played these games because we know what we are going to need to do to be special. I'm thankful we got an opportunity to play them."
"Overall, our guys played really hard. I don't know that we played extremely well, but our pitching was outstanding. We played good defense for the most part all across the field on the day. We had lots of plays made, lots of routine plays and even some special plays defensively by our club, so I'm proud of that," Thompson said.
"Our pitching was outstanding. Logan Freeman was really good in game one. Miller in relief was fantastic and really competed hard. In game two, Bayless wasn't extremely sharp but battled through five innings for us. Then, Payton Strambler and Josh Breaux were really special out of the bullpen," said Thompson.
"From a coaching standpoint, I'm really excited. Our pitching just matched up toe-to-toe with a really good offensive ballclub. We gave them four runs in 16 innings, and we're going to win a lot of games when we do that. When you split a doubleheader, you never feel great about it, especially when you win the first game. You've got to give San Jac's pitchers credit. They held our hitters down and competed really hard. It was [two] really good junior college ballgames," Thompson said.
McLennan 4, San Jacinto 2
San Jacinto 001 010 0 – 2 4 2
McLennan 001 021 x – 4 5 1
Jacob Cantleberry, Aaron George (5), Chris Roberts (6), Zach DeLeon (6) and Herbert Iser. Logan Freeman, Grant Miller (5) and Nick Thornquist. WP: Miller; LP: Cantleberry. Leading hitters – San Jacinto: Nick Neville (2-3, HR, RBI) and Sergio Macias (0-2, RBI); McLennan: Griffin Paxton (1-3, 2B, RBI), Chase Sortor (1-3, 2B) and George Callil (1-1, 2B, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 8-0.
San Jacinto 2, McLennan 1
San Jacinto 101 000 000 – 2 9 1
McLennan 000 001 000 – 1 4 0
Devin Roedahl, Lukas Veinbergs (7), Reid Morgan (8), Trey Dillard (9) and Baylor Rowlett. Tristen Bayless, Payton Strambler (6), Josh Breaux (9) and Jackson Nichols, Nick Thornquist (9). WP: Roedahl; LP: Bayless; SV: Dillard. Leading hitters – San Jacinto: Alerick Soularie (2-4, 2B) and Mario Moralez (1-4, RBI); McLennan: Dylan Neuse (1-4, HR, RBI) and Grant Miller (1-2, 2B). Record: McLennan 8-1.