Bears fend off Mustangs in big road win
By Ronnie Hughes
WEST ORANGE — The race for third and fourth-place in District 24-4A is heating up with the West Orange-Stark Mustangs trying to hang on to third place and avoiding facing the number one seed in the first round of the postseason.
The Mustangs played host to the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears Tuesday hoping to end a three-game skid. The game would be another down-to-the-wire event leaving the Mustangs looking for answers as they lost 7-6 to the surging Bears. The Mustangs are 1-5 in their last six appearances after once being the first place team in the district.
The Bears improved to 5-6 in 24-4A play while the Mustangs slipped to 6-5.
LC-M hosts Orangefield Friday while WO-S visits Silsbee.
LC-M’s Mitchell Lee smashed the game winning home run over left center field.
After Jack Dallas struck out his first two batters in the top of the first inning, Mitchell Lee, rocked a triple to deep center field. Lee gave the Bears their first run of the night taking home on a pitch that was unable to be corralled by the catcher. Dallas struck out three in the top of the inning.
Payton Robertson led off the bottom half of the inning for the Stangs’ with a walk and Chad Dallas advanced him to second on a sacrifice-bunt. Ryan Ragsdale knocked Robertson in with an RBI single past short stop with two outs to tie the game at one run a piece. BB Tezeno ended the side leaving Ragsdale stranded with a line out to short stop.
Michael Lee ignited the onlooking Bear fans with a lead off home-run straight over center field for a 2-1 lead with no outs in the top of the second inning. Jack Dallas recovered quickly from the home-run shot and struck out the next two of three batters to end the side and bring back out the Mustang bats. Dallas proved his dominance on the mound when he struck out Michael Lee the next two at bats.
Bear pitcher Slade Green pitched a stellar game himself along with excellent defense they’d sit down the Mustang batters in order. Drake Trawhon led off the top of the third with a single shot to center field. Following a Vinny Hale ground-out, White hit a hard shot to short stop that Payton Robertson was able to scoop up and turn into a double play ending the top of the third.
The Mustangs bats remained stagnant with the Bears making quick work and a one-two-three inning to again rush the Bear offense back to the plate. Jack Dallas handled the first two batters striking them both on swinging, but Bryce Peasley broke up the rally with a single to shallow left field. Vinny Hale followed suit with an RBI double to deep center scoring, Peasley and giving the Bears a 3-1 advantage after four complete. The Stangs’ again went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
Despite the effort Jack Dallas started losing steam into the fifth inning. Trawhon and Mitchell Lee both got on base after being walked making way for an RBI double by White that scored Trawhon from second base. Dallas again recovered and struck out the final two batters of the inning, but Mustangs found themselves in a 4-1 hole after five innings. WO-S left one runner on the bags in the bottom half with Kaleb Ramsey being walked.
The Mustangs made a pitching change in the top of sixth inning with Ragsdale relieving Jack Dallas. Dallas had 11 strikeouts on the night despite the loss. The Bears felt comfortable with their lead that they’d sit Green the remaining two innings after he led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a walk.
Christian Fusieller relieved White and first pitch allowed a Jack Dallas single to third which put two runners on for the Mustangs. Ragsdale laid down a bunt that Fusilier misplayed allowing bases to load up for the Stangs’. Tre Bernard would drive home Tezeno with an RBI single for the Mustangs first run since the first inning. Blake Robinson stepped to the plat with bases loaded and one out reaching first on a fielders choice with the runner tagged out at home. Ramsey faced two outs and bases loaded ripping a shot just over first base to drive home two Mustang runs and tie the game at four runs each. Mustangs left three runners stranded in the three hit, three run inning.
The Mustangs entered the top of the seventh with the momentum and the same scenario as the past two games. Vinny Hale flew out to right field to open the inning for the Bears. Mitchell Lee followed in his brothers footsteps and hit a deep shot over left center for the Bear lead and eventual game winning shot. Two batters later brought up Michael Lee who almost got his second homer of the game bouncing this one off the left field wall for a double. McCorvey extended the Bear lead to 7-4 with a two-run RBI single after the throw home was mishandled by catcher, Chad Dallas. Payton Choate drew a walk to load bases after Mustangs made another pitching change bringing in Robertson in hopes of working out of the inning. Seth Dronnet swung on and miss on a full count pitch to end the side leaving runners stranded. Mitchell Lee finished 3-4 batting on the night.
The Mustangs had one last shot in the bottom half of the inning. Holeman walked to lead off and following a Robertson strikeout, Jack Dallas sends a two-run bomb over left field to pull the game within one run, 7-6. Ragsdale reached on an errant throw from third base to put the tying run on first. Tezeno took a hard hit from the pitcher to put the potential go-ahead run on base. Tre Bernard was up next with two outs and two runners on in scoring position. The count was at 2-2 and Bernard swung hard and missed a high inside pitch to end the Mustang rally and again leave the fans gasping.