Tigers slip past Mustangs, 3-2
By Ronnie Hughes
WEST ORANGE — The crucial District 24-4A match-up between the West Orange-Stark Mustangs and Silsbee Tigers brought out the local celebrities including Super Bowl champ Earl Thomas and historic WO-S baseball coach, Ronnie Anderson.
However, all eyes would be on the pitchers mound as both pitchers Jack Dallas and Chase Partain notched double-digit strikeouts.
Once the cheers and jeers cleared it would be Silsbee that pulled out the 3-2 victory after scooting the winning run across home plate in the top of seventh.
The pitchers duel got started early with Dallas striking out two batter and Partain sitting down three consecutive after opening with a walk. The Tigers notched the first run of the evening by taking advantage of Mustang miscues. Trevis Sundgren led off the second inning with a walk and a few pitches later stole second base. Jacob Collins hit a slow roller back to Dallas scoring Sundgren on an errant throw for an early 1-0 advantage after two complete innings.
The Tigers sat with two outs in the top of the third inning with Ethan Dunn at the plate. Dunn launched a single into shallow left-center field to put a runner on the bags. Unfortunately for Tiger fans Dunn would be caught stealing second to end the side. Mustang fans would get their chance to cheer in the bottom of the inning. After a Holeman strikeout, Payton Robertson hit a single back to shortstop and was able to outrun the throw at first. KJ Miller left the game on the next at bat after being hit by a pitch leading to Jack Dallas hitting into a fielders choice that scored Robertson as he stole home. The Mustangs tied the game at one apiece after three innings of play. Robertson went 4-for-4 on the night with a two runs scored, leading all batters.
Both teams went three-up-three-down in the fourth with Jack Dallas striking out three Tiger batters. Dallas pitched the complete game in the loss and picked up 11 strikeouts.
Mason Youngblood led off the fifth inning with a single down the right field line for the Tigers and Noah Bayless hit into a fielders choice that sent Youngblood to second base. Youngblood eventually crossed home plate after stealing third on a wild pitch and a Mason Murray grounder back to the pitcher led to Mustang catcher Chad Dallas dropping the ball on an easy tag at home plate that gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead after 51/2 innings.
The Mighty Mustangs didn’t stay down long as they would answer back in the bottom of the inning. Payton Robertson got on base again with a shot just over the shortstop’s head. Two batters later, Jack Dallas, hit a line drive to left scoring Robertson with two outs. Ryan Ragsdale left Dallas stranded at third after a swing and a miss led to a strikeout ending the side.
The Mustangs and Tigers both made quick work of the sixth inning as they headed into the seventh and final inning of regulation tied at 2 runs each. Bayless led off the top of the inning with a single to second base for the Tigers. Jackson Hardy followed suit just a couple of batters later with one out. He’d slip a ball past first base to put runners in the corner with Bayless at third for the go-ahead and potential game winning run. It would be Dunn at the plate that singled just past short-stop to score Bayless for a 3-2 Tiger lead after the top of seventh.
WO-S attempted to rally in the bottom of the inning. Payton Robertson came to bat with two outs, no runners on the bags and ripped a double down the left field line. Tre Bernard, who substituted following KJ Millers injury was next up and looking for his first hit of the season. Bernard took a hard pitch to the side to take a free base giving the Mustangs two runners on with Jack Dallas due up. Mustang fans were on their feet as Dallas swung on and missed the first pitch looking at Robertson sitting at third for the game tying run. However, Partain gave Dallas a nasty final pitch that rolled into an easy ground out to first base that ended the game and handing the Mustangs their first district loss of the season as they slipped to 5-1 and into a first-place tie with Bridge City. Partain downed 12 batters in the win for the Tigers.
The Tigers moved to 4-2 in 24-4A play.
Bridge City downed Hamshire-Fannett 13-2 in six innings to improve to 5-1 in district.
LC-M defeated Orangefield 11-2 as both teams now stand at 2-4 in district.