Highlanders claim outright conference title

Posted at 9:02 PM, May 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-07 22:02:40-04

The McLennan Highlanders swept the North Central Lions today in Gainesville to claim the outright North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Championship.

McLennan took game one 10-1 with Reece Calvert getting the complete-game win on the mound. Calvert allowed two hits and recorded four strikeouts in seven innings of work.

The Highlanders scored two runs in the top of the first. Tucker Johnson drew a walk and stole second. Cory Voss also drew a walk. Both runners scored on a double by Brendan Venter. 

McLennan added three runs in the second. Mario Vela led off with a single and Joe Breaux walked. Johnson followed with a single to score Vela. Voss was hit by pitch to load the bases. Venter then singled to score Breaux and Johnson. 

Another Highlander run scored in the top of the fourth as Voss walked and scored on single by Noah McGowan.

North Central's only run came in the bottom of the fourth as Austin Ingraham was hit by the pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground out by Matt Heck and scored on a McLennan error.

McLennan added two more runs in the sixth. Breaux and Dimas Ojeda both singled. Breaux came in to score on an overthrow. Voss singled and Ojeda scored on a sacrifice by Venter. 

The Highlanders rounded out the scoring with two runs in the seventh. James Rudkin was hit by the pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. Creighton Eldridge drew a walk and Breaux was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Rudkin scored on a sacrifice fly by Johnson. Ojeda then singled to score Eldridge.

McLennan defeated North Central 5-1 in the nightcap with Chris Glover getting the win on the mound.

The Highlanders got on the board with two runs in the top of the first as Griffin Williams reached first safely on an error and scored on Chris Roller's home run. 

The Lions' only run came in the bottom of the first as Jose Perez singled moved to second on an error, advanced to third on the walk of Blake Garrett and scored on a ground out by Nathan Colon.

McLennan rounded out the scoring with three runs in the top of the ninth. Brady Sullivan led off with a single. Cole Haring was safe at first and moved to second on an error, bringing Sullivan in to score. Nic Motley followed with a double. Williams then doubled to score Haring and Motley.

"I couldn't be happier for our guys. They really showed up with an attitude of competitiveness and were really focused on trying to win both games and an outright conference championship. They accomplished that," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "From day one, our first goal was to win a conference title. Today that came to fruition and that is a big feather in our players caps. It's a really big pat on the back for our coaches. I'm really proud for Chris Berry, Zachary Dillon and James Leverton and all the work that they have done with us and this team, and the leadership we have had from the players. I'm excited for them."

"In game one today, Calvert was outstanding. He was fighting through some illness and didn't feel well but he battled through and threw a complete-game two-hitter. He really gave us a big boost. We jumped on them early and were able to continue to score and open up a pretty nice gap and win the first game."

"The second game we played virtually as many of our substitute players as we possibly could. Many of our guys have not had as many at-bats and got as many opportunities as I would have loved to get them. We played as many of those guys as we could in the lineup and pitched six different guys in the ball game. We got outstanding performances from all of them. Glover got the win and was good to start. Michael Cugini, Palmer Wenzel, Daniel Bullard, Hunter Spaeth and Dustin Jourdan were all outstanding in relief and it was fun to watch those guys have success."

"It was a great way to finish the regular season. Now we are refocusing our attention to our second goal of the year, which is to win the Region V Tournament in Lubbock. We will open up play Friday at 1 p.m. against an opponent still to be determined. We are very excited to be the conference champion and are looking forward to the region tournament."

McLennan 10, North Central 1
McLennan 230 102 2 – 10 11 1
North Central 000 100 0 – 1 2 0
Reece Calvert and Cory Voss. Jake Norton, Travis Angell (7) and Matt Heck. WP: Calvert; LP: Norton. Leading hitters – McLennan: Joe Breaux (2-2), Tucker Johnson (1-3, 2 RBI), Dimas Ojeda (2-5, RBI), Brendan Venter (2-3, 2B, 5 RBI) and Noah McGowan (1-3, RBI). North Central: Austin Ingraham (1-2, 2B). Record: McLennan 44-10 (24-7).

McLennan 5, North Central 1
McLennan 200 000 003 – 5 11 2
North Central 100 000 000 – 1 6 3
Chris Glover, Michael Cugini (4), Dustin Jourdan (5), Hunter Spaeth (6), Daniel Bullard (7), Coleman Beazley (8), Palmer Wenzel (9) and Nic Motley. Cade Killingsworth, Trevor Cheaney (9) and Matt Heck. WP: Glover; LP: Killingsworth. Leading hitters – McLennan: Griffin Williams (1-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Chris Roller (1-5, HR, RBI), Brock Morrison (2-4), Brady Sullivan (2-4) and Nic Motley (1-3, 2B); North Central: Nathan Colon (1-4, RBI). Record: McLennan 45-10 (25-7).