McLennan Baseball wins thriller over New Mexico in regional tournament

McLennan Baseball wins thriller over New Mexico in regional tournament

In thrilling come-from-behind fashion, the No. 13 McLennan Highlanders defeated the New Mexico Thunderbirds 9-8 to stay alive in the Region V Tournament at Airhogs Stadium in Grand Prairie.

McLennan scored one run in the top of the first as Dylan Neuse led-off with a double and scored on a double by Aidan Shepardson.

New Mexico tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second as Avery Tuck tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Dickerson.

The Highlanders took the lead with a run in the top of the third when Neuse singled, stole second, moved to third on a Thunderbird throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.

Another McLennan run crossed the plate in the fourth as Keaton Milford tripled and scored on an overthrow for an in-the-park home run.

The Thunderbirds added a run in the bottom of the fourth. This time, it was a triple by Dickerson followed by a sacrifice fly by Colton Buckner.

The Highlanders responded with two runs in the top of the fifth as Shepardson was hit by the pitch and scored on a Josh Breaux first homer of the game.

New Mexico added another run in the fifth. Ryan Rijo was hit by the pitch. Soterio Ramirez and Tuck followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Rijo then scored on a fielder's choice by Dickerson.

The Thunderbirds cut the Highlanders' lead to one with a run in the sixth. Rody Barker walked, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Daniel Hernandez.

New Mexico took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Buckner and Jacques Palmer singled, both scoring on a double by Joab Gonzalez. Barker then singled to score Gonzalez.

McLennan scored one run in the eighth as Griffin Paxton doubled and scored on single by pinch hitter Mitchell Caskey.

The Thunderbirds' final run came in the bottom of the eighth as Ramirez singled, moved around to third on a McLennan error and scored on a single by Buckner.

The Highlanders headed to the top of the ninth trailing New Mexico 8-6. Breaux hit a solo shot to cut the Thunderbirds' lead to one, and Milford singled. Pinch hitter Peyton Grassanovits followed with the two-run bomb to give McLennan the 9-8 advantage. Relief pitcher Daniel Cole got the three up, three down half inning in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win.

McLennan 101 120 013 – 9 14 0
New Mexico 010 111 310 – 8 15 3
Shane Daughety, Nick Urbantke (5), Daniel Cole (7) and Nick Thornquist, Jackson Nichols (9). Anthony Montoya, Cade Acrey (6), Tuck Tucker (9) and Rody Barker. WP: Cole: LP: Tucker. Leading hitters – McLennan: Dylan Neuse (2-5, 2B), Aidan Shepardson (1-4, 2B, RBI), Josh Breaux (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Keaton Milford (2-5, 3B), Peyton Grassanovits (1-1, HR, 2 RBI), Griffin Paxton (3-5, 2B) and Mitchell Caskey (1-1, RBI); New Mexico: Rody Barker (2-4, RBI), Daniel Hernandez (1-6, RBI), Avery Tuck (2-5, 3B), Jake Dickerson (1-4, 3B, RBI), Colton Buckner (2-4, 2 RBI) and Joab Gonzalez (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 41-15 (26-7).