For the seventh time this postseason, Grapevine faced elimination; for the seventh time, the Mustangs came through.
A 2-1 victory over rival Colleyville Heritage on Saturday in Game 3 of the Class 5A Region I final, preceded by a 1-0 victory in Game 2, clinched Grapevine a berth in the UIL state tournament to defend its 2016 title.
“In some ways it says we feel comfortable with it now,” Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson said of the win-or-go-home games. “Our goal when we got here today was to force a Game 3. We felt like if we did that we could find a way to scratch it out because we’ve been here so many times.”
Nicholas Pierce’s two-run single for Grapevine (32-11) in the bottom of the third, scoring London Green and Dylan Gonzales, proved to be the Game 3 difference.
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Boone Montgomery picked up the win for Grapevine, limiting Heritage (38-6) to six hits while striking out four with one walk.
“I was just hungry to play,” Montgomery said. “We had the 1-0 loss [Friday] night, and we could have won that game. We were just hungry to get on the field and get two more.”
Each of the three games in the series was decided by a single run. It was the sixth time these clubs met this season.
“This being against our crosstown rival definitely makes it sweeter,” Montgomery added.
Grapevine forced the decisive Game 3 after making Brett Squires’ RBI on a fielder’s choice in the second inning hold up in Game 2.
“It wasn’t the greatest offensive day, so you’ve got to attribute it to defense and pitching,” Hutcherson said. “If you can pitch and play defense and find a way to scratch it out, that’s what playoff baseball is all about.”