It didn’t take long for Grapevine hitters to pick up where they left off Friday night in the Class 5A Region I baseball final.
The Mustangs scored three runs in the top of the first inning of Game 2 on Saturday and earned a berth in the UIL state tournament with a 6-1 win over Lake Dallas at Dallas Baptist University.
The win completed a sweep in this series as well as four season wins over the Falcons and touched off a wild celebration.
“Keeping guys on base is pretty important for us,” Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson said. “I was proud of the way they came out and got right on them early and that allowed us to play a little more aggressive.”
Starting pitcher Connor Neuman shook off a sluggish outing to get the win for the Mustangs (33-6-2), giving up no earned runs and scattering three hits with eight strikeouts.
Neuman worked out of jams in the second and fourth innings behind some creative location by his pitchers and strong defense behind him.
As they’ve done for the entirety of the playoffs, Grapevine’s 5-through-9 hitters were up to the challenge.
But it was the Mustangs’ top four hitters (Neuman, Ty Jones, Kyle Flamm and Tanner Gibson) who worked most of the magic early, going 5 for 10 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
No. 6 hitter James Wyche accounted for the other run with a single to right in the first inning and No. 9 hitter Boone Montgomery was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
“To be able to not feel like you have a wasted inning is pretty important and our first four guys, coming out like they did, really took pressure off the bottom of the order today,” Hutcherson said.
Lake Dallas (26-12) couldn’t get sustained rallies to put any heat on Grapevine.
The Falcons’ lone run came in the bottom of the second inning when Drew Karp led off with a single to center field to help load the bases.
Karp scored on a ground ball by Alex Peppard, but the Falcons left one stranded after a stolen base attempt and strikeout ended the threat.