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.
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.
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).