No. 3 Highlanders sweep North Central, secure share of champions - KXXV Central Texas News Now

No. 3 Highlanders sweep North Central, secure share of championship

The third-ranked McLennan Highlanders swept the North Central Lions this afternoon at Bosque River Ballpark, securing at least a share of the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Championship.

The Highlanders run-ruled the Lions 10-0 in five innings of game one with Paul Kirkpatrick getting the win on the mound.

McLennan scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Joe Breaux and Tucker Johnson both singled. Dimas Ojeda followed with a single to score Breaux. Johnson scored on a single by Brendan Venter, and Ojeda scored on a North Central error.

The Highlanders added two runs in the second. Creighton Eldridge drew a walk and stole his way around to third. Johnson singled and moved to second on an error that brought Eldridge in to score. Ojeda followed with a double to score Johnson.

McLennan sealed the win with five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cory Voss led off with a double and Venter was hit by the pitch. Noah McGowan followed with a double to score Voss. James Rudkin then doubled to score Venter and McGowan. Pinch hitter Chris Roller followed with a triple to score Rudkin. Mario Vela, Breaux and Johnson all walked, bringing Roller in to score and end the game.

The Highlanders defeated the Lions 11-7 in the nightcap with Justin Garcia getting the win on the mound.

McLennan scored one run in the bottom of the first as Breaux walked, stole second and scored on a double by Ojeda

North Central's Trevor Boiles tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the second.

The Highlanders took the lead with two runs in the second. McGowan led off with a solo home run. Rudkin drew a walk and Griffin Williams singled. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Nic Motley. Breaux was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Johnson followed with a fielder's choice to score Rudkin.

McLennan added two runs in the third as Voss walked and scored on the Venter home run.

The Highlanders scored another two runs in the fourth. Johnson walked and scored on a single by Ojeda. Venter then doubled to score Ojeda.

McLennan continued to pull away with two more runs in the fifth as Rudkin singled and scored on Williams' home run.

The Lions added four runs in the sixth. Austin Ingraham was hit by the pitch. Jose Perez and  Matt Heck both walked, loading the bases. Tyler Boertje was also hit by the pitch, bringing Ingraham in to score. Perez scored on a fly out by Alex Aguilar, and Heck scored on a ground out by Boiles. Jake Georgiades then singled to score Boertje.

The Highlanders added two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Johnson singled and Ojeda walked. Voss followed with a fielder's choice, putting Ojeda out at second. Venter singled to score Johnson. McGowan and Rudkin drew back-to-back walks, bringing Voss in to score.

North Central rounded out the scoring with two runs in the top of the ninth. Carson Bowen led off with a double and Ingraham walked. Both runners advanced on a ground out by Perez. Bowen scored on a ground out by Heck. Boertje followed with a single to score Ingraham. 

"Today at the yard was a great day. Anytime you get a doubleheader sweep it's obviously special but today was really special because it guaranteed us a share of the conference championship," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "That's a big deal. It hasn't happened since 2011, so it's a fun thing to at least own a share of the conference championship. On Saturday, we will go to Gainesville and we will be playing for the outright championship. That's a neat thing too. We have something to play for and we just continue to play and get better, and get ready for postseason play."

"It was a big day today and a great way to end the regular-season home schedule. We had a really good crowd and we played well. We had a bunch of guys swing the bats really well today and hit some runs. And, our starting pitching was outstanding. Kirkpatrick and Garcia were really good, allowing only one run in 10 combined innings on the mound. Our bullpen was pretty good too.

"I couldn't be more pleased with where we are at. 43-10 is a really nice record for this time of year. We are just continuing to try and be focused and take it one day at a time and continuing to get better. I'm proud of these kids and proud of their accomplishments on the field. Today was a great way to end the regular season at home." 

McLennan 10, North Central 0
North Central 000 00 – 0 3 2
McLennan 320 05 – 10 11 0
Blake Garrett, Kevin Velez (2), Charlie Hatcher (5) and Matt Heck. Paul Kirkpatrick and Cory Voss. WP: Kirkpatrick; LP: Garrett. Leading hitters – North Central: Carson Bowen (1-2, 2B); McLennan: Tucker Johnson (2-3, RBI), Dimas Ojeda (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Cory Voss (1-2, 2B), Brendan Venter (1-2, RBI), Noah McGowan (2-3, 2B, RBI), James Rudkin (1-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Chris Roller (1-1, 3B, RBI). Record: McLennan 42-10 (22-7).


McLennan 11, North Central 7
North Central 010 004 002 – 7 5 1
McLennan 122 220 20x – 11 12 1
Garrett Hofstad, Ross Scott (6), Kyle Bottger (7), Peydon Vasquez (8) and Matt Heck. Justin Garcia, Coleman Beazley (6), Mark Doerries (6), Collin Sharp (6) and Nic Motley. WP: Garcia; LP: Hofstad. Leading hitters – North Central: Matt Heck (0-4, RBI), Tyler Boertje (1-4, 2 RBI), Alex Aguilar (0-5, RBI), Trevor Boiles (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Jake Georgiades (1-4, RBI) and Carson Bowen (1-3, 2B); McLennan: Tucker Johnson (1-4, RBI), Dimas Ojeda (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Brendan Venter (3-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Noah McGowan (3-4, 2B, HR, RBI), James Rudkin (1-3, RBI) and Griffin Williams (2-3, HR, 2 RBI). Record: McLennan 43-10 (23-7). 

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