McLennan Highlanders clinch share of conference championship with sweep at Hill

McLennan Highlanders clinch share of conference championship with sweep at Hill

The No. 7 McLennan Highlanders swept the Hill Rebels this afternoon in Hillsboro to clinch at least a share of the North Texas Junior College Championship. McLennan and Grayson are currently tied atop the conference standings with Grayson having one four-game conference series remaining with North Central. Grayson will need to sweep North Central to keep its share of the title. One North Central win over Grayson will give McLennan the outright championship.
 
In today's opening game, the Highlanders defeated the Hill Rebels 5-2 with Grant Miller getting the win on the mound and Rene Ramos picking up a save.
 
The Highlanders began the scoring with three runs in the top of the second inning. Brett Squires and Aidan Shepardson both singled. Jaylen Williams was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Squires scored on a ground out by Ryan Bishop. Shepardson and Williams then scored on a double by Jordan Yeatts.
 
McLennan added two runs in the fifth. Yeatts walked, Jalen Battles singled and Cole Moore walked, loading the bases. Squires also drew a walk, bringing Yeatts in to score. Battles then scored on a sacrifice fly by Shepardson.
 
Hill's two runs came in the bottom of the sixth as Brian Aguilar walked and scored on Taylor Daniell's home run.
 
The Highlanders smashed the Rebels 17-4 in the nightcap with Jase Embry getting the win.
 
McLennan scored a run in the first as Yeatts walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Battles.
 
Ryan Neitsch's solo home run in the second put McLennan ahead 2-0.
 
Two more Highlander urns scored in the third as Garrett Martin singled and scored on Shepardson's homer.
 
The Highlanders added three runs in the fifth. Moore doubled followed by back-to-back walks of Squires and Martin to load the bases. Shepardson doubled to score Moore and Martin. Squires then scored on a single by Vince Ippoliti.
 
Hill got on the board with two runs in the fifth as Cameron Lang singled and scored on a Grant Bruce home run.
 
McLennan exploded for 10 runs in the top of the eighth inning. Battles and Moore both singled. Martin followed with a single to score Battles, and Shepardson doubled to score Moore. Ippoliti singled to score Martin and Shepardson. Brooks Embry followed with a two-run homer. Neitsch walked, Yeatts reached on an error and Battles was hit by the pitch. Moore followed with a grand slam.
 
The Rebels rounded out the scoring with two runs in the eighth. Daniell was safe and advanced around to third on a McLennan error. Keuchel followed with a fly out to score Daniell. Josh Smeltzer doubled and Reed Hamilton singled. Smeltzer then scored on another Highlander error.
 
"Really proud of the two wins today. We butter our bread on the mound, and Grant Miller in game one and Jase Embry in game two were just fantastic. Those guys are going to have to be that way for us to win something special throughout the rest of the year," head coach Mitch Thompson said.
 
"These two wins were huge for our club because we clinched at least a share of the conference championship. It's our third championship in the last four years and I'm very proud of that. I'm really proud of the consistency our guys have shown throughout the year, to go to 27-5 in this league is not an easy task. It's something that really challenges you. The guys continue to work hard and I'm proud of them," Thompson said.
 
"The first goal of our season is to win a conference championship and that's been accomplished. Now we have to turn our focus to the post season. We have one regular-season game left on Monday at San Jac. We will play that and then we will set our attention on the Region V Tournament in San Angelo coming up in a week or so. That's what the whole season boils down to, how you perform in the region tournament and hopefully, Grand Junction," Thompson said.
 
McLennan 5, Grayson 2
McLennan 030 020 0 – 5 7 0
Hill 000 002 0 – 2 3 0
Grant Miller, Rene Ramos (7) and Ryan Bishop. Riley Schulz, Brady Ferguson (5), Ryan Hill (7) and Craig Keuchel. WP: Miller; LP: Schulz; SV: Ramos. Leading hitters – McLennan: Jordan Yeatts (3-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Brett Squires (1-2, RBI), Aidan Shepardson (1-3, RBI) and Ryan Bishop (0-3, RBI); Hill: Taylor Daniell (1-3, HR, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 41-11 (26-5).
 
McLennan 17, Hill 4
McLennan 112 030 0 10 – 17 17 2
Hill 000 020 02 -- 4 8 1
Jase Embry, Max Mize (8) and Vince Ippoliti, Ryan Bishop (8). Easton Migl, Cole Spillar (1), Ryan Hill (5), Alden Blest (5), Ulysus Rodriguez (8) and Craig Keuchel. WP: Embry; LP: Migl. Leading hitters – McLennan: Jalen Battles (3-5, 2 2B, RBI), Cole Moore (3-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Garrett Martin (2-2, RBI), Brett Squires (1-5, 2B), Aidan Shepardson (3-6, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI), Vince Ippoliti (2-5, 3 RBI), Brooks Embry (2-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Ryan Neitsch (1-2, HR, RBI); Hill: Craig Keuchel (2-4, 2B, RBI), Josh Smeltzer (1-4, 2B) and Grant Bruce (1-4, HR, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 42-11 (27-5).