Highlanders' season ends with loss to New Mexico

Posted at 9:31 PM, May 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 22:31:50-04

The McLennan Highlanders' season came to an end with a 12-3 loss to the New Mexico Thunderbirds this evening in the Region V Tournament at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. 

Paul Kirpatrick took the loss on the mound. All three of the Highlanders' runs came in the bottom of the first inning. Joe Breaux led off with a single and Tucker Johnson was hit by the pitch. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Cory Voss followed with a single, scoring Breaux. Brendan Venter drew a walk, loading the bases. Noah McGowan was hit by the pitch, bringing Johnson in to score. Voss then scored on a ground out by James Rudkin.

New Mexico took the lead with four runs in the top of the third. Jimmy Cubillos and Travon Benton both singled. Jeff Diemling followed with a fielder's choice, putting Benton out at second. Zac Sanders was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Jesse Becton drew a walk, bringing Cubillos in to score. Deimling scored on a ground out by Daniel Herrera. Larry Leitha then tripled to score Sanders and Becton.

The Thunderbirds added two runs in the fourth. Cubillos and Benton both singled, and Deimling walked to load the bases. Sanders followed with a single to score Cubillos and Benton.

Another New Mexico run scored in the the fifth as Leitha was hit by the pitch, stole second, moved to third on a Highlander throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Angel De Jesus.

The Thunderbirds sealed the run rule with five runs in the top of the seventh. Herrera and Leitha both singled. De Jesus was hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Luis Pintor followed with a double to score Herrera and Leitha. Benton walked to load the bases again. Deimling followed with a double, scoring De Jesus, Pintor and Benton. 

"We are all kind of in shock after today. It was obviously not the way we expected the day to go or this tournament to go as a whole," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "I'm disappointed in how things turned out and I'm hurting for the players. I know they are hurting as well and this is absolutely not how they wanted to finish off this year."

"At the end of the day, it doesn't take away from the season that we had. It just means that we didn't reach our ultimate goal of going to Grand Junction and winning the whole thing. I couldn't be prouder of these kids and the young men that they are and are growing into. These guys have been an absolute joy to coach. They have worked extremely hard for me. They've done everything I've asked. They've handled their business on and off the field, and in the classroom. They've represented me and MCC with great dignity. I'm extremely proud of them and I hurt for them."

"This is one of those times in life where you have to say 'Ok God, what are you trying to help us learn here?' We are going to pick ourselves up. I'm very proud of where we are at as a program. I'm proud that this is disappointing. We play to win and we expect to win. I'm proud that it is disappointing when we don't do that. We've taken great strides again this year. We will put the pieces back together when we get home. We will take a couple days to catch our breath and get our bearings back together. Then we will get back after it, trying to build a national championship program."

New Mexico 12, McLennan 3
New Mexico 004 210 5 – 12 16 0
McLennan 300 000 0 – 3 7 1
Roberto Delgado and Daniel Herrera. Paul Kirkpatrick, Collin Sharp (4), Mark Doerries (7) and Cory Voss. WP: Delgado; LP: Kirkpatrick. Leading hitters – New Mexico: Luis Pintor (1-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Jimmy Cubillos (3-5), Jeff Deimling (3-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Zac Sanders (2-4, 2 RBI), Jesse Becton (0-4, RBI), Daniel Herrera (2-4, RBI), Larry Leitha (3-3, 3B, 2 RBI) and Angel De Jesus (0-2, RBI); McLennan: Cory Voss (2-4, RBI), James Rudkin (0-3, RBI), Noah McGowan (0-3, RBI) and Mario Vela (2-3). Record: McLennan 45-12 (25-7).