By Will Johnson
NACOGDOCHES – The Slocum Mustangs blasted their way into the next round of the Class 1A playoffs with their 15-3 win over the Kennard Tigers on Thursday, May 18.
Kennard scored six runs with two outs in the first inning to effectively put the game away, but they very nearly were held in check.
Taylor Hunt led off the game with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a Joe Byrnes groundout. Colton Peters followed Byrnes with a base on balls and he also stole second.
Taylor Lomax fanned for the second out of the inning and then the flood gates opened. A passed ball on a third strike allowed Dustin Fletcher to reach first and also scored Hunt from third.
The next batter was Andrew Abernathy who reached first on a fielding error which allowed both Peters and Fletcher to cross the plate. A walk to Kyle Garman and a wild pitch on strike three to Aron Teems loaded the bases for Slocum.
Randy Guess was next in the batting order and he singled in Abernathy and Garman while Teems moved to third. A pick-off attempt at first went awry for Kennard and Teems trotted home to make the score 6-0.
Hunt, who led off the game, lined out to the mound to bring the top of the first to a close.
The Mustangs sent Hunt to the mound. After retiring the first two batters, Hunt gave up a single but retired the fourth batter he faced to move the game to the second inning.
After the second and third innings were relatively quiet, the Mustangs added another two runs to their total in the top of the fourth.
Guess reached on a dropped third strike, moved to second on an error and stole third. Hunt grounded out but on the play Guess managed to cross the dish to make the score 7-0.
A fielding error allowed Byrnes to reach first safely and he moved to second on a balk. A wild pitch moved him to third and was followed by a walk to Peters. After the second out of the inning, Byrnes scored on a wild pitch to make the score 8-0.
Once Kennard finally managed to get out of the inning, they put the first two batters on base in the bottom of the fourth. Hunt, however struck out the next two Tigers he faced and then got a come backer he tossed to first for the inning’s final out.
The score remained 8-0 until the bottom of the sixth. Kennard plated three runs to cut the Slocum lead to 8-3, but that was as close as they would get.
The Mustangs exploded for seven runs in the top of the seventh to make the score 15-3 and then turned the game over to Lomax who came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth.
Lomax retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve thee15-3 win and move the Slocum Mustangs into the Regional Semifinals against the Union Hill Bulldogs on Thursday, May 25 at Mike Carter Field in Tyler. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The date and time of games two and three have not been determined as of press time.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.