Four-run 7th settles 5-1 loss
Worrell wows during first six
SAGU outhits TC again in season-ender
TYLER, Texas -- The nightcap of the April 23rd doubleheader between Texas College and Southwestern Assemblies of God University, like the first game, was a match-up of excellent pitchers that went the distance.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the outcome was the same. The Steers, using one hit, scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to snap a 1-1 tie en route to a 5-1 triumph.
A young, impressive freshman, Zach Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian College, LD Bell HS) had matched TC’s junior Aldo Montoya pitch-for-pitch until the seventh. He was pitching Z's in the form of zeroes, enough to put the Steers to sleep. Zzzz.
Until the seventh.
Twenty-two pitches into a tightening strike zone, Worrell had walked four consecutive batters. Coupled with two errant throws to second base – one in which he had a surprised runner dead in his tracks, opened up a four-run surge as the Steers seized control.
The lone hit came against reliever Dan Reinhardt (Abilene, Tx / Vancouver Christian HS), who was charged with one of the runs. "Rhino," a sophomore, went the final one and two thirds of an inning.
Playmakers; Denton, Lippe, Davis
The rally could have been more damaging had it not been for a play by sophomore catcher Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS). Against the top base stealing (2.8 per game) team in the Red River Athletic Conference, the freewheeling Steers got burnt looking to run.
Like a line from the song, Saving Grace; “You keep running for another place to find that saving grace,” senior Xavier Foster was caught off third base by Denton.
He triggered a throw from behind the dish that stunned Foster as though he was hit by a Taser, stopping him cold, tagged easily by 6’5 third baseman Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha Omega Academy).
Worrell (2-2 record) had walked only one through six innings, limiting the TC attack to just four hits. He hurled 96 pitches in the process.
In the fifth he escaped trouble after Tristen Neal hit a one-out double, then swiped third base. Worrell then coaxed Kasey Vogel to ground out to shortstop Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College, Lake Worth HS).
His throw to first baseman Taylor Froelich (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit West HS) was quickly relayed home, where Denton applied the tag to rebuff Neal.
One inning before the troublesome seventh, Worrell sat down the side in only five pitches. All three outs were gloved by rightfielder Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS).
The second out was spectacular! Clean-up batter Jose Serna whacked the first pitch, sending it deep to right as Davis retreated, spinning one way, then swiveling the other as the ball was sailing over his head.
He reached out like a wide receiver reeling in an over-the-shoulder bomb and caught the ball in the webbing, robbing Serna of extra bases.
Montoya went the distance on 93 pitches, scattering seven hits, walking none while getting eight on strikes (six swinging).
Fueled with the lead, Montoya retired the last six batters he faced. Lippe (LIP-ee), who lined a single to left in the sixth and scored on a double by Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State Univ, Polytechnic HS), crushed a leadoff double in the eighth.
He was left stranded as Montoya (6-5 record, 3.58 ERA) bore down. He struck out the side in the ninth.
Only in the sixth could the Lions string more than one hit in an inning off of the righthanded Montoya.
Lippe singled and was bunted to second by Davis. After a single by Jett, Lippe strolled home on a two-bagger by Mendoza. With two runners in scoring position, Montoya got Vess on a line-drive to shortstop and Enrique Rodriguez (Ft. Worth, Tx / Ranger JuCo, Nolan Catholic HS) on a drive to right.
A Cajun plays the hits
The game began with a first pitch single by Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS), which made him SAGU’s all-time leader in career hits. He added another later in the game to cap a 5-for-8 day.
He nudged past Tommy Benningfield, who is a current Southwestern Assistant Coach.
Jett finished as the career record holder in at bats, runs scored, hits, walks and stolen bases.
Like the first game in which SAGU outhit Texas College 11-9, they managed a 7-5 edge in the second contest. The Steers, however, cashed in on walks while surrendering none to the Lions.
As the teams left their dugouts for the post-game exchange of handshakes, Texas College dumped a cooler of ice water on head coach Freddy Rodriguez.
The two wins moved them from fourth place in the RRAC to second, nudging Texas Wesleyan University and UT-Brownsville.
Six years ago he began in Tyler with a 2-44 first season. An icy shower never tasted so sweet.
Another young team in purple watched planning their own replication.
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