The McLennan Highlanders swept today's doubleheader with the Hill Rebels in Hillsboro to win the conference series.
In a back-and-forth battle that came down to the final inning, the Highlanders topped the Rebels 10-9 in game one with Palmer Wenzel picking up the win on the mound.
McLennan began the scoring with one run in the top of the second as Nic Motley walked, moved around to third on a Hill error and scored on a single by Cole Haring.
Hill took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third. DeVaughn Gales led off with a double and Keyton McMillion walked D.J. Petrinsky followed with a three-run homer.
The Highlanders took the lead the with three runs in the fourth. Chase Sortor walked and George Callil was hit by the pitch. Sortor and Callil both scored on a three-run homer by Chris Roller.
The Rebels tied the game with Gales' solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
McLennan scored two runs in the fifth to go back on top. Motley singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Josh Breaux and Sortor drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Motley then scored on a sacrifice fly by Haring.
The Highlanders added to their lead with three runs in the sixth. Brendan Venter doubled and scored on a home run by Josh Breaux. Sortor then walked, stole second, and scored on a single by Mario Vela.
Hill tied the game once again with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Dean Frew walked and Hayden Brown singled. Both runners scored on a double by Gales. Roosevelt Henderson and Petrinsky followed with back-to-back home runs.
Roller walked, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Motley in the top of the seventh to seal the win for McLennan.
It was all Highlanders in game two as they run-ruled the Rebels 13-2 with Jason Blanchard getting the win on the mound.
McLennan scored three in the second. Brock Morrison led off with a home run. Haring then doubled and scored on Mario Vela's home run.
The Highlanders doubled their lead with three runs in the fourth. Callil and Joe Breaux both singled, and Motley walked to load the bases. Josh Breaux then doubled to score all three runners.
Five more McLennan runs scored in the fifth. Callil and Roller both walked and scored on a Joe Breaux home run. Motley singled and Josh Breaux was hit by the pitch, both scoring on a double by Venter.
The final two Highlander runs came in the top of the seventh. Motley doubled and Josh Breaux singled. Motley then scored on a wild pitch, and Josh Breaux scored on a double by Griffin Paxton.
Hill's two runs came in the bottom the seventh as Luis Vega walked and scored on another Gales' home run.
"These are two big-time wins on the road today against Hill. In game one, we played with the wind blowing out and Hill's ballpark is not a big ballpark so it was obviously an offensive day. We got some good pitching from Jase Embry, Nate Gonzales and Wenzel to keep us in the game and give us an opportunity, but we needed to swing the bats, and we did," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "We had some bit-time at-bats by Roller and Josh Breaux, and several guys really performed well for us with multiple RBIs. We were ahead 9-4 going into the bottom of the sixth and they scored five runs to tie it but I like the way we came back. We scored a run in the top of the seventh and we threw a guy out at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Sortor made a great play from first base to throw out the runner trying to score from third. We had some big-time defensive plays and it was a great team win."
"The story of game two was Blanchard. He was outstanding and gave us five really strong innings on the mound, struck out six guys and only gave up two hits. We needed to get him out just because of his pitch count. Then, Coleman Beazley came in and gave us an out, and Josh Breaux finished it out with an inning and two-thirds to preserve the win in run-rule fashion. Multiple guys had multiple RBI days in game two: Joe Breaux hit a three-run home run, Josh Breaux head three RBIs, Venter had two RBIs and Vela hit a home run. We had production up and down our lineup. Overall I'm really proud of our wins."
"Next up, we have four non-conference games. We play Monday on the road at Blinn, then we play at home next Saturday against Coastal Bend in a doubleheader, then we go back on the road to Wharton on the following Monday. Four non-conference games will give us the opportunity to continue to develop our depth of both our pitchers and our position players. I'm really tickled to be where we are right now and it will also give us an opportunity to reshuffle the deck pitching wise. We can set our pitching for conference and I'm excited to be able to do that."