Liberty-Eylau’s Marzavin Riles baited Pittsburg pitcher Jake Jackson by taking a pitch. He had a green light to swing on a 3-0 count Friday night at H.E. Markham Park.
Riles hit a dramatic run-scoring double off the centerfield fence with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Leopards a 1-0 victory. The win earns L-E its first state playoff berth in eight years.
Riles’ heroics would have never been possible if not for the brilliant pitching performance of junior Ben Witterstaetter. Throwing nothing but off-speed pitches, the righthander prevented the Pirates from wrapping up second place in District 15-4A. He scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out three.
Two of Witterstaetter’s strikeouts came in the seventh inning after a leadoff double by losing pitcher Jake Jackson.
“Ben was awesome tonight,” said L-E coach Zach Fowler. “He got some big strikeouts in some big spots, and he let the defense make plays. He has mastered certain pitching situations. When you play good defense behind him, he gives you a chance to win.”
Lots of baserunners were stranded
Both teams let numerous scoring opportunities get away. Pittsburg stranded runners in scoring position five of the nine innings, and the Leopards did the same.
The Leopards had the potential winning run at second in the seventh with two outs. Pittsburg started John Baxter escaped with his sixth strikeout.
A doubleplay got Jackson out of trouble in the eighth.
Kevin Garza ledoff the ninth with an infield hit, but was picked off by Jackson. Two pitches later Spencer Aldridge was hit by a pitch. Nate Moore walked, and the game was over five pitches later on Riles’ bomb, his second hit of the game. Blake Carter and Moore also had two hits.
L-E will host 15-4A champion Pleasant Grove next Tuesday, and treks across town next Friday to play the Hawks.
Lindale tops Tigers on home run
Brandon Buseker’s long two-run homer to left broke a 2-all tie and sent Lindale to a 4-2 victory over Texas High at Tiger Field Friday.
Chris Lyles had just thrown a Lindale runner out at the plate when Buseker connected, giving the Eagles their second victory in four days over the Tigers.
The win also pulled Lindale (18-8, 9-4) within a game of Texas High (17-9, 10-3) in the District 15-5A standings with two games left for each team. The Tigers host Sulphur Springs Tuesday, then visit the Wildcats next Friday, while Lindale finishes home-and-home against last-place Greenville.
Buseker’s home run came off starter Rian Cellers, who worked out of trouble nearly the whole game. Cellers scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked three, throwing 99 pitches in six innings. He benefitted from outfield assists at home plate by Lyles and right-fielder Connor Allred.
Chris Sutton pitched a scoreless seventh.
A Tiger error contributed to two first-inning runs, but Texas High pulled even in the second on four singles and a fielder’s choice. But the Tigers stranded eight runners in the game.
Soft-throwing Landon Cheney pitched six innings for the Eagles, allowing seven hits, walking three and striking out only one. Sebastian Coulter retired all three batters he faced in the seventh, earning the save.
Sophomore Cellers had a double and two singles to lead the Tigers at the plate, while freshman Luke Smith collected a pair of hits.
Hawks improve to 10-0 in 15-4A
PARIS, Texas – Pleasant Grove (20-4, 10-0) remained perfect in District 15-4A Friday by blanking North Lamar, 9-0.
Nick Voyles pitched a complete game, allowing three hits and striking out six.
Jackson Cobb led the Hawks at the plate with two hits. Keaton Russo, Marshall Cox, Ryan Galvan, Ben Wilson and Andrew LeGrand had one hit each.
The Hawks play at Liberty-Eylau next Tuesday.
Hogs drop heart-breaker to Sheridan
Arkansas High rallied from an early 7-1 deficit, only to lose to Sheridan in 12 innings Friday at Razorback Field, 10-9.
It was an ugly game on a wet field, with an incredible 18 errors, 10 on the Razorbacks.
Drake Browning led the Hogs at the plate with a home run, double and single. Jada Ross hit a two-run homer, while Braylon Bishop contributed a triple and single.
Cody Adcock suffered the loss, despite holding the Yellowjackets to two hits in six innings, and striking out nine.
Rabbs ride arms of Thompson, Allen
ATLANTA, Texas – Atlanta scored seven runs in the fourth inning Friday en route to a dominating 12-0 win over DeKalb.
Jake Thompson was the winning pitcher for the Rabbs, with Hunter Allen throwing one inning of relief. Thompson allowed one hit in four innings of work, striking out five.
Thompson, Max Ebarb, Allen, Jackson Warren and Cooper McClure had run-scoring hits in the Rabbs’ big fourth. Allen and Ebarb finished with two hits each in the game.
Sulphur Springs edges Lady Tigers
Sulphur Springs broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning when Alli Fite singled and scored the decisive run against Texas High Friday at the Lady Tigers’ field.
Bailey Naggerty got the pitching win, while Lindsey Egger suffered the loss. Egger allowed eight hits and struck out two.
The Tigers also had eight hits off Naggerty. Freshman Lauren Allred had two doubles and two singles, while Kori Hamilton and Bailey Groom contributed two hits each.