Big inning too much for Mansfield Legacy baseball

Posted Sunday, May. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Frisco Liberty baseball team scored six runs in a wild fifth inning and held off a late Mansfield Legacy rally for an 8-7 series-clinching victory Saturday afternoon to sweep a best-of-three Class 4A regional semifinal series.

The Redhawks (26-9), who will play Whitehouse in the regional finals, won Game 1 on Thursday night. Game 2 of the Liberty-Legacy series began Friday night at Grapevine High School but was suspended in the first inning by rain.

The series resumed Saturday on Prosper High School’s artificial turf field, and Legacy (24-13) took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Chayce Steelman.

Legacy starter Matt Dickey pitched 4 2/3 innings, scattering nine hits and striking out four. But control issues keyed a Liberty rally. Dickey gave up two singles and hit a batter to load the bases with one out in the top of the fifth. With two outs, Trey Johnson and Cole Parker drew back-to-back walks — both on a full count — to turn the one-run Redhawks’ deficit into a 4-3 lead.

Dickey was relieved at that point. But Legacy’s struggles continued. Liberty strung together three consecutive hits to cap the rally. Austin Miller’s two-run single extended the lead to 6-3. J.T. VanGelder and Clay Crews followed with run-scoring singles to make it 8-3.

“It was really just coming back like this when we were down all series,” Liberty catcher Jacob Colombo said. “Everyone’s been coming up huge for us.”

Legacy, however, mounted a furious rally. The Broncos struck for three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Robbie Stricklin hit a sharp ground ball with the bases loaded and no outs that glanced off the glove of the Redhawks third baseman, and two runs scored, cutting the Liberty lead to 8-5. Broncos catcher Corey Murray scored on a wild pitch.

The Broncos drew within a run on Murray’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that scored Branden Bohuslav from second and cut the Liberty lead to 8-7.

Liberty reliever Josh Ryan earned the save, striking out three consecutive Legacy batters in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory. Winning pitcher Robby Evans gave up three runs in four innings.

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