Mustangs gallop past Cardinals in Game One
By Ronnie Hughes
JASPER — The Class 4A regional quarterfinal matchup between District 24-4A rivals the West Orange-Stark Mustangs and Bridge City Cardinals got underway Friday night in Jasper.
The Mustangs entered the series with Jack Dallas leading the charge on the mound in Game One.
Dallas and the rest of the Mustang group had an electrifying energy pre-game that seemed to spill over into the game as the Mustangs galloped easily over the Cardinals with a 7-0 shutout win.
The two clubs will tangle again today with Game Two starting at 10 a.m. Game Three, if necessary, will follow 30 minutes after Game Two.
Jack Dallas and the Mustangs (18-11-1) took care of the Cardinals (22-9-1) early making quick work of the top of the first inning. Dallas struck out two of the three batters to bring up the Mustang bats with the red-hot KJ Miller leading things off.
Miller looked at two-two count and drew the walk, eventually stealing around to third base. He took home on a wild pitch to score the first of his two runs on the night. Tod McDowell was on the bump for the Cardinals and also struck out two of three in the first.
Caleb Dubois got the Bridge City bats going in the second inning with a long shot to left field for a stand-up double. Unfortunately, Bridge City would not turn in a run as Austin Fitts flew out to right field followed by a Riley Harris strikeout to end the inning. The Mustangs seemed to enter a slump in the bottom of the inning going three-up-three-down and making for a quick second inning. Bridge City again would see the batters go down in order in the third inning.
Blake Robinson led off the third inning for the Mustangs with a strikeout, but McDowell would see his pitching diminish over the next couple of batters. Ronald Carter took a full count pitch for a walk, which brought back Miller, who also drew a walk. Payton Robertson, with runners on the corner, ripped a hard shot to short for an RBI fielder’s choice as Carter scooted across home plate.
Jack Dallas continued the Mustang scoring with an RBI double off the left field wall, scoring Robertson and Miller for a 4-0 lead.
McDowell got replaced on the mound after loading the bases after waling the next two batters. Caleb Ramsey took care of business at the plate despite the Cardinal pitching change. Ramsey belted a bases clearing double to center field to boost the Mustang lead to 7-0 after three complete innings of play. The Cardinals had two pitching changes in the third inning.
Bridge City attempted a rally in the fourth with back-to-back singles to left field, but both runners would be left stranded with Harris ending the top of the inning flying out to right field. The two went back and forth over the next several innings with the Cardinals not able to scratch across a run giving the Mustangs the shutout victory.
Jack Dallas finished 3-for-3 with two RBI and a solid eight strikeouts on the mound while Caleb Ramsey was 1-for-3 with three RBI on the night.
Ryan Ragsdale picked up the save for the Mustangs, relieving Dallas to grab the final three outs, all that were easy ground outs for the Mustang defense.