(May 11, 2014) The McLennan Highlanders punched their ticket to the Region V Championship game with a 9-8 come from behind win over the Howard Hawks Sunday evening in Lubbock.
Howard began the scoring with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs already on the board, Ishmael Edwards was hit by the pitch and Dane Steinhagen drew a walk. Julian Service followed with a double to score Edwards and Steinhagen. Service moved to third on a passed ball and came in to score on a single by Brandon Wagner.
The Hawks extended the lead to 8-0 with five runs in the sixth inning. Brenon Rhodes walked and Garrett Webb doubled. Both runners scored on a Highlander error that put Edwards on third. Steinhagen walked and Service doubled, scoring Edwards. Steinhagen and service both came in to score on a passed ball and another McLennan error.
The Highlanders began to chip away at the lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Zach Gonzalez led off with a double and Mason George singled. Evan Williams followed with a triple, scoring Gonzalez and George. Max Hogan then singled to score Williams.
McLennan cut the lead to one with four runs in the seventh. Gonzalez was hit by the pith and George singled. Williams then homered over the left-field wall.
The Highlanders sealed the win with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Sydney Daley led off with a double. Pinch hitter Zac Valenzuela grounded out for the second out of the inning. Williams followed with a single, bringing Daley in to score. Matt Campbell reached safely on an error and Hogan was hit by the pitch to load the bases. Andrew Rhodes followed with a walk-off single to score Williams and end the game.
"That was a really nice comeback. Our guys showed a lot of poise and competitiveness. It's a 27 out game, so anything is possible," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "Our guys kept believing, started taking good at bats and some good things started happening for us."
"Sterling Wynn gave us one if his best starts of the season and Enrique Oquendo put up several zeroes on the scoreboard to give us a chance. We now have to get refocused and get some rest. We will have a stiff test tomorrow, no matter who we play," Thompson said.
The Highlanders will face either Howard, Midland or Grayson at 5 p.m. tomorrow. The game will be live-streamed on www.psblive.com.