Mustangs pluck Falcons to dance their way to Austin
BEAUMONT – Here’s wondering about how Austin and The University of Texas can handle the West Orange-Stark Mustangs at the Class 4A State Tournament.
One thing for certain, Class 4A Region III couldn’t handle them as the Mustangs captured a deciding Game Three 6-0 against the Huffman Falcons Thursday night at Lamar University’s Vincent-Beck Stadium in the 4A Region III Finals.
That was after the Mustangs fought back from a 13-2 Game One loss Wednesday to take Game Two 3-1 earlier Thursday.
It marks the third straight series in which the Mustangs dropped Game One only to take the next two games. Now it is time to head to the University of Texas’ Disch-Faulk Field for the State Tournament. The semifinals will be Wednesday and the State Championship on Thursday.
“This is so awesome, you just can’t put it all into words,” said Mustang coach Shea Landry. “The kids have so much character and they’ve rallied around together all year and all that has paid off. They’ve been through some battles this year and they’ve pulled together in so many clutch situations.”
After getting 11 hits in their Game One win, the Falcons (26-6) could muster only seven total hits against the Mustangs (26-10) in two tilts Thursday.
Jack Dallas captured the win on the hill in Game Three, scattering three hits while striking out four and walking three.
“It’s so incredible to be standing here celebrating with the team that is going to Austin,” said Dallas. “This team, we’re all like brothers, just one big happy family. We could’ve easily gotten down after that loss Wednesday but we never do that. We always seem to rise up when the pressure is on us. Three straight weeks we’ve done it, and wow, look where we’re at now.”
Aidan Anderson tossed a complete game in Game Two, allowing a mere four hits while fanning four and walking four.
“I didn’t feel any pressure taking the mound, I knew I had to go out and perform and do my job,” said Anderson. “I knew my teammates had my back. We treated Game One like it was ancient history. I’m just so happy for all the guys, the coaches and our fans.”
The Mustangs got on top 1-0 in bottom of the second in Game Three.
With one out, Aidan Anderson, who was 3-for-3, singled past third base and KJ Miller followed with a hopping single into left centerfield. Chase Rutledge walked to load the bases. Ryan Ragsdale came through with a sacrifice fly to center to score Anderson.
WO-S put up a run in the bottom of the third.
Payton Robertson got a one-out walk. Grant Anderson slapped a single to shallow right but Robertson was thrown out at second. Dallas drew a walk and Aidan Anderson cracked a RBI single to right to score courtesy runner Aaron Blagburn.
The Mustangs scrapped for a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Kalen Garrett got on with an infield single and zipped to second on a sacrifice bunt by Grant LaPoint-Teate and scored when Robertson hit a high chopping single over third base or the 3-0 advantage.
WO-S added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth with three tallies.
Dallas led off with an infield single and Aidan Anderson placed a single to leftfield. KJ Miller made it 4-0 when he drilled a RBI single up the middle. That chased Huffman starter Cody Stone, who pitched five innings. He allowed nine hits while walking three and had no strikeouts. Ryan Ragsdale drew a one-out walk from reliever Dylan Lorfing and Garrett plated Anderson with a sacrifice fly to center.
LaPoint-Teate made it 6-0 when he roped a RBI single to center to plate Miller.
“We got some timely hitting and you give our guys on the mound run support they always seem to get even tougher as the games goes along,” said Landry. “That made a big difference tonight. We produced with runners in scoring position and they (Huffman) struggled and that was big.”
Huffman left 19 runners on base, nine in Game Two and 10 in Game Three.
For Huffman In the top of the fifth with two outs, Stone reached on an error at short and went all the way to third on the play. However, Dallas fanned Justin Waltmon to end the threat.
The Falcons left two runners on in the fourth. Dylan Lorfing reached with one out after an error at second and James Tutor followed with a single between third and short. Jake Bumgarner got on after a fielder’s choice grounder as Tutor was nailed at third. Dallas got out of it nicely when Matthew Bumpas flied out to rightfielder Chase Rutledge.
Huffman left two runners on in the third.
Matthew Bumpas drew a leadoff walk and swiped second and went to third on a Cody Gaitan groundout. The Mustangs intentionally walked Stone with two outs and Dallas calmly struck out Justin Waltmon.
The Falcons left two runners in scoring position in the top of the first.
Matthew Bumpas drew a leadoff walk and Richard Marches reached on an infield single as Bumpas took third. After Marches swiped second, Dallas struck out Waltmon to silence the threat.
In Game Two, the Mustangs got the big outing from Anderson on the hill and more timely hits.
WO-S grabbed a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh when Dallas, who was 3-for-4, cranked a two-out triple to deep right and scored when Aidan Anderson belted a RBI single to left. That chased Huffman ace Matthew Bumpas, who worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out three and walking three.
The Mustangs snagged a run in the fifth to make it 2-0.
Payton Robertson reached all the way to second on an error at short on a throw to first. Grant Anderson drilled a single to left and Robertson rushed in to score on Dallas’ sharp single to left.
The Falcons got to within 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Richard Marches had a leadoff single to right was out at second after a fielder’s choice grounder by Cody Stone. Stephen Keller was hit by a pitch with two outs and Dylan Lorfing hit a infield single on the left side and Stone was able to come home on an error.
The Mustangs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Ryan Ragsdale reached on a one-out walk and Kalen Garrett got on after being hit by a pitch. Grant LaPoint-Teate loaded the bases up with a single to left and Ragsdale was able to race home off a Payton Robertson sacrifice fly to centerfield.
For WO-S in the top of the first inning, Grant Anderson drew a two-out walk and Jack Dallas drilled a single to right and Aidan Anderson walked to load the bases. Bumpas got out of it by getting KJ Miller to fly out to shallow right.
Huffman threatened in the bottom of the first but came away empty-handed.
Cody Gaitan connected on a one-out single to left. Marches reached on an error as Gaitan went to third. Gaitan then made a base-running snafu as he took off for home on a ground ball hit by Stone as Mustang third baseman Dallas connected with catcher Grant Anderson for the easy out at home.
The Falcons left two on in the third after Bumpas walked and Gaitan singled to left but Anderson worked out of it by fanning Marches and getting Stone to ground out.
Huffman left a runner at third in the fourth inning. Stephen Keller walked with one out and went to second on a Dylan Lorfing groundout and took third on a wild pitch. Anderson got out of it by getting James Tutor to ground out.
Now the Mustangs can turn their focus on the trip to Austin.
“We’re going to celebrate this one for a couple days because the kids have earned it then it will be back to work,” said Landry, who got drenched by a water bucket by the team in celebration. “This is a trip of a lifetime and something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They went out there and earned it. Not many people thought when the season started that the West Orange-Stark Mustangs would be sitting in this spot and here they are. I just loves these kids so much.”
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