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Highlanders sweep Vernon

The McLennan Highlanders swept both games of today's conference doubleheader with the Vernon Chaparrals in Vernon.

McLennan defeated Vernon 10-1 in game one with Reece Calvert getting the complete-game win on the mound. Calvert allowed just three hits in seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

The Highlanders began the scoring with two runs in the top of the second. Cory Voss drew a walk and Noah McGowan singled. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. James Rudkin also walked, loading the bases. Voss scored on a sacrifice fly by Brock Morrison. McGowan then scored on a single by Mario Vela.

The Chaparrals' only run came in the bottom of the second as Dakota Curry was safe at first on a bunt, advanced to second on a balk, moved to third on a ground out by Rogelio Sanchez and scored on a ground out by Luis Valenzuela. 

McLennan added two runs in the fourth. McGowan singled and Rudkin walked. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Morrison and scored on a double by Joe Breaux. 

Two more McLennan runs scored in the fifth. Dimas Ojeda was safe at first on an error and Voss was hit by the pitch. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Brendan Venter and scored on a double by McGowan. 

The Highlanders added a run in the sixth as Tucker Johnson walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground out by Ojeda and scored on a single by Voss.

McLennan rounded out the scoring with three runs in the seventh. Creighton Eldridge, Rudkin and Morrison all singled, loading the bases. Vela followed with a fielder's choice, putting Eldridge out at the plate. Breaux drew a walk, bringing Rudkin in to score. Griffin Williams followed with a fielder's choice, scoring Morrison and putting Breaux out at second. Ojeda and Voss drew back-to-back walks, bringing Vela in to score. 

The Highlanders defeated the Chaparrals 7-2 in the nightcap with Chris Glover getting the win on the mound.

McLennan scored two runs in the top of the first. Ojeda doubled and scored on a single by Voss. Voss advanced to second on an overthrow, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Venter. 

Vernon got on the the board with a run in the second as Josh Timms was hit by the pitch, advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a ground out by Connor Mitchell and scored on another passed ball.

The Highlanders added two runs in the third as Ojeda singled and scored on the Venter home run.

The Chaparrals added a run in the third as Blake Clark singled, moved around to third on a single by Luis Rivas and scored on a McLennan error.

Two more McLennan runners scored in the top of the seventh. Williams drew a walk, moved to second on a ground out by Ojeda and scored on a double by Voss. Voss then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.

The final Highlander run came in the top of the ninth as Voss was hit by the pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a ground out by Venter and scored on a sacrifice fly by McGowan.

"I'm very proud of the two wins today. There are several things that jump out, that as a coach kind of excite you as you are heading to the end of the year and preparing for the postseason," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "First is that our pitchers in 16 innings today did not walk a single person. With no walks and when you are making the plays on defense, you are giving yourself a great opportunity to limit the opponent to scoring very few runs, and that is exactly what happened today. It was an awesome job by our pitching staff."

"The second thing that was big, was our ability to play the small-ball game offensively. With the wind blowing in like it was today, it was not a hitters day. So multiple times, especially in the first game and a couple times in the second game, we were able to advance runners and play the small by game by either sac bunt or just moving the runner by hitting a ground ball or scoring a guy on a sacrifice fly. We did a nice job of that today."

"These were two big wins. We are excited about where we are at. We've got one more series to go next week against North Central. It will be a big series and we are gearing up for the postseason. It's a fun time."
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