(Orange, Texas)

April 30, 2014

Jacquinot, WIldcats end superb Mustang season

Van Wade
The Orange Leader


A magnificent West Orange-Stark baseball season came to an end Wednesday night due to the big arm of Splendora ace Matt Jacquinot.

Jacquinot tossed a complete-game three-hitter and the Wildcats scored a run in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to down the Mustangs 3-1 in Class 3A bidistrict playoff action at Barbers Hill High School.

Jacquinot had a one-hitter going for the Wildcats (20-5) going into the seventh inning until the Anderson brothers finally got to him.

Up 3-0, Jacquinot gave a up a towering one-out double to Grant Anderson to deep rightfield. Grant scored when brother Aidan Anderson cranked a deep single to left-centerfield. Aidan, trying to stretch it into a double, was thrown out at second and Jacquinot ended the contest with a strikeout of Kameron Williams.

Jacquinot struck out nine without issuing a walk. The only other hit he gave up was a Grant Anderson infield single in the first frame.

“The Jacquinot kid is excellent, we knew that coming in,” said Mustang coach Shea Landry. “He has tremendous stuff, no doubt. He had command of all of his pitches tonight. We helped him out a lot too and got away from some things that we knew we were capable of.”

The Mustangs (21-6) received another strong mound effort from Aidan Anderson. The junior went the distance, scattering six hits while striking out seven and walking three. He allowed just one hit through the first four innings.

“Aidan pitched another great game, just like he’s done all season,” said Landry. “In the playoffs, one run just isn’t going to get it done. He pitched well enough to win and that’s all you can ask of the kid.”

Splendora manufactured a run in the top half of the fifth.

Jacquinot reached after he hit a deep fly to right, which was dropped. Kolby Reed moved courtesy runner Matt Adams over to second with a nice sacrifice bunt. Casey Barron made it 1-0 when he slapped a RBI single to right.

The WIldcats went up 2-0 in the top of the sixth when Aaron Smalley belted a one-out, line-drive home run over the rightfield wall.

Dave Rauch then singled down the first base line and Ty Nixon drew a walk, setting up a Jacquinot RBI single to right that scored courtesy runner Dustin Millican.

The Mustangs still have so much to be proud of, racking up third-place in a rugged District 21-3A, surprising a lot of people in the process.

“I couldn’t be more prouder of a bunch of kids,” said Landry. “Nobody gave us much of a chance when the year started, picking us dead last. But these kids believed all season long and played their hearts out. That’s one thing nobody can do, question the heart of our kids. We’ve got a great group of kids that are ready to make a run at it next year. They got a good taste of what winning is all about and I feel that will carry over. I just hate it for our seniors that have worked hard for four years. They know they were part of something special this year and I want to thank them for all they’ve done.”

Splendora, the second-place team out of 22-3A, will move on to the area round to face either Houston Furr or LaMarque.