Longhorns fend off Mustangs, 10-9
By Ronnie Hughes
FANNETT — It wasn’t for a lack of determination and effort that cost the West Orange- Stark Mustangs a heartbreaking 10-9 loss at Hamshire-Fannett Saturday evening. It was a stellar showing by the Longhorns that put the Mustangs in the hole early, but the gritty Stangs’ team battled back with heart to tie the game in the seventh, but would fall by one run in the bottom of the inning with two outs and two strikes on the batter.
Longhorn pitcher Jordan Johnson, was handling business on the bump early with the Mustangs struggling to get balls into play. Johnson made quick work of the first inning to make way for a huge bottom half for the Longhorn bats.
Chad Dallas got the call as starting pitcher for the Mustangs and walked the first batter he faced. Following the walk to Christian Simpson, Blake Breaux laid down a sacrifice-bunt and was able to outrun the throw to first base to give the Longhorns two runners on the bags with no outs. Johnson followed suit with a hard rip-shot to center field to load up the bases with Adam Burgason hitting into a RBI sacrifice-fly that scored Simpson for the first run of the game. Dakota Guidry kept the bats swinging with a single to right to load the bases once more the Horns’. Caleb Byrd stepped to the plate with two outs and took a full count pitch deep off the center field wall to score three runners and Longhorn advantage, 4-0, after just one inning of play.
Johnson again kept the momentum going on the mound for the Longhorns. He’d strike-out three of the next six batter heading into the bottom of the third inning where the big bats came out swinging again for Hamshire-Fannett.
Johnson led off the inning with a single right up the middle that led to a two-run home run deep over the right field fence by Burgason to up the Longhorn lead to 6-0 with no outs in the third. Byrd once again came to the plate with two outs and singled to third base, but took to second base on wild throw to first. Tyler Guy brought Byrd home with an RBI single down the right field line. The Mustangs were forced into a pitching change as Chad Dallas had given up seven runs through 2-2/3 innings pitched. Ryan Ragsdale came on in relief, but the Longhorns again had it their way. Skilor Fulk took Ragsdale first pitch of the game deep over right center field for a two run shot and a 9-0 Longhorn lead after three complete innings. Byrd ended the evening, 3-4, 3 rbi’s, 1 run scored.
WO-S finally got runners on the bases in the top of the fourth. Blake Robinson led off the inning beating the throw to first for a single. Tezeno launched a double to deep left that sent Robinson to third and put Mustang runners in scoring position. Kaleb Ramsey helped scratch the first Mustang run across the plate with an RBI single scoring both Robinson and Tezeno. Payton Robertson ended the Stangs’ scoring series with a strike-out looking. The Stangs’ cut into the Longhorn lead, 9-2 after four innings with Ragsdale taking down the bottom half in order.
Mustangs again started to chop away at the Longhorn lead in the top of the fifth. Jack Dallas got a single past shortstop and followed that by stealing second base. Ragsdale launched a deep RBI double to score Jack with Tezeno bringing home Ragsdale on a sacrifice-fly. The Horns’ batters went stale as they went down in order again in the bottom of the fifth and sixth inning as Ragsdale was dealing his best on the mound.
The Mustangs entered the top of the seventh and final inning trailing by five runs and the Mustang faithful cheering them on. Ragsdale led off the inning with a walk, followed by Tezeno and Robinson both walking, before Jordan Johnson would be relieved of his duties by Matt Conkle. Conkle hit his first batter to give the Mustangs a free run and keep the bases loaded. Ramsey was next up and took a pitch hard to the side giving the Stangs’ two consecutive free runs and cut the lead to 9-6. Horns’ were forced into another pitching change this time bringing in Jordan Cash. Holeman was next in line for the Stangs’ with no outs and bases loaded he slipped a shot just past third base to score Bernard and Ramsey. Robertson took a free base after four straight balls by Cash. The Mustangs had runners in the corner with just one out and the lead cut to 9-8. Chad Dallas hit a grounder to score Holeman and tie the game at nine runs each. Ragsdale flew out to center field to end the inning and putting the game in defenses hands.
Ragsdale struck out the first batter in the bottom of seventh and a ground out by Fulk put the Mustangs just one out away from extra innings. However, Jordan Johnson, would be struck by the pitch and took a free base and Burgason walked to put two runners on and one in scoring position. Guidry played the role of hero and possibly his best senior moment with a hard shot between short stop and third base to score the winning run for the Longhorns.