Mustangs Win Series 2-0, Move into Regional Finals
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – The Slocum Mustangs are headed to the Regional Finals in Class 1A after sweeping the Wells Pirates in a best-of- three series over the weekend.
The Mustangs made quick work of the Pirates as they defeated them by scores of 10-0 in Game One and 13-3 in Game Two.
Game One saw the Mustangs jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Taylor Hunt led off with a grounder and reached on an infield error. He stole second and came around to score on a Joe Byrnes’ double to right.
Byrnes came around to cross the plate when Austin Sarraf ripped a two-bagger to left and made the score 2-0. Wells’ pitcher Logan Tucker then hit Taylor Lomax but seemed to regain his composure after that.
He got Colton Peters to ground out, then struck out Dustin Fletcher and followed that up with a groundout from Ben Haney to retire the Mustangs.
Taylor Hunt was on the mound for Slocum and retired the first two batters he faced – Jakari Hadnot and Logan Tucker. After two quick outs, Hunt walked Kaleb Darnell. Trey Adams was up next and reached safely on a catcher’s interference call.
Hunt was nonplussed, however, and struck out Briar Goodwin to end the inning.
Slocum tacked on four more runs in the second as Randy Guess led off and reached on an error. Andrew Abernathy was up next and returned the favor to Wells as he reached on a catcher’s interference call.
Hunt followed in the order and flew out to right, but Byrnes singled through the infield to load the bases. Trevor Stewart came in as a courtesy runner for Abernathy and then Sarraf drove in Guess with a single and advanced the runners.
Lomax was up next and lined a single into left which plated Stewart, along with Byrnes, and made the score 5-0. Peters singled in Sarraf but Lomax was caught at third for the second out. Fletcher followed with a pop up to send the game to the bottom of the second.
Armed with a six run lead, Hunt began to dominate the Pirates. He caused Garrett Allen to ground out to first, struck out Jackson Scoggins and, for good measure, struck out Case Moore on three pitches.
After a quiet third inning from both teams, the Mustangs put three more runs on the board to make the score 9-0.
Hunt led off with a single and moved to third when Byrnes doubled to the left centerfield gap. Tucker then balked Hunt home and gave up a single to Sarraf to drive in Byrnes.
Lomax followed with another single and advanced Sarraf to second. After Peters flew out to center, Fletcher lined into left to drive in Sarraf which made the score 9-0.
The Pirates lifted Tucker after the Sarraf run and brought in Goodwin, who managed to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Hunt continued to baffle the Pirates as he struck out Goodwin, walked Allen, struck out Scroggins and then got Moore to fly out to center to send the game into the fifth inning.
The Mustangs tacked on a run when they came to bat to make the score 10-0 and then held off the Pirates to end the game because of the run rule.
Game two saw Wells finally break into the scoring column as the Pirates plated two runs in the top of the first. Sarraf got the start for Slocum and gave up back-to-back singles to Hadnot and Tucker to open the game.
Darnell followed with a K and then Adams grounded into a fielder’s choice to advance the runners. An error in the outfield on an Adams fly ball allowed Hadnot to scamper home with the Pirates first run of the series and moved Tucker to third.
A passed ball brought in Tucker to make the score 2-0. Sarraf, however, settled down and struck out Allen to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Moore was on the mound for Wells and he had a fairly easy first inning. He got Hunt to fly out and then caught Byrnes looking at a called strike three. Moore got a little wild and hit Sarraf but regrouped to force Hunt to ground out to end the inning.
Sarraf had an easy second inning as he struck out Scroggins, coaxed a ground out from Moore and then got Tanner Glover to swing at strike three to end the top half of the second.
In the bottom of the second, the Mustangs took the air out of the Pirates’ sails as they scored 10 runs to take a 10-2 lead.
The Mustangs went on to add another run in the bottom of the third and two more in the bottom of the fourth to make the final score 13-3 after four and a half innings.
The win moves Slocum into the Regional Finals where they will face the Union Hill Bulldogs in a best-of-three series. The first game is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Mike Carter Field in Tyler.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.