If North Mesquite is going to make a push to the playoffs, it might look back at Tuesday as one of the turning points of the season.
The Stallions locked horns with rival Mesquite at Tillery Field and it quickly turned into a pitcher’s duel between North Mesquite’s Christian Hinkle and the Skeeters’ Adam Pineda.
Both pitchers were in control for much of the afternoon, but the Stallions got a chance in the top of the sixth inning and they seized it.
With two outs, Kolby Long and Chris Cobos drew back-to-back walks. That set the stage for Liam Thornton, who delivered a two-run double to right-center field and that proved to be the difference as North Mesquite claimed a 2-0 victory to improve to 2-3 in 10-6A.
Hinkle went the distance for the Stallions, striking out four, including two in a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning to close it out.
Hinkle had pitched out of a jam in the previous inning.
After North Mesquite had taken the lead, Mesquite threatened to get it right back in the bottom of the frame.
Pineda led off with an infield single and Addison Patton followed with a base hit to center. After a sacrifice bunt by Julian Rosales moved the runners over, the Stallions opted to intentionally walk Cameron Lance to load the bases with one out.
That move paid off, as Hinkle was able to get a ground ball to Long at shortstop, who pitched to second baseman Nick Garcia for one and he was able to get the throw to first to complete the double play and escape the jam unscathed.
Scoring chances were tough to come by early on.
Thornton reached on a two-out error in the top of the first, but was stranded, and after Garcia led off the third with a single, Pineda would retire the next eight Stallions in a row.
Mesquite threatened in the bottom of the first when Lance had a two-out infield single and moved around to third when the throw got away, but got no further.
The Skeeters had another chance in the bottom of the third when Jacob Castillo walked and moved around to third on a throwing error, but Hinkle would shut down the threat, starting a stretch of nine consecutive outs.
It had the makings of a game that could be decided by one swing of the bat and Thornton provided that in the sixth to give North Mesquite the opener in the two-game set.
The rematch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Copeland Field.
Horn (2-5) was hoping to make a push up the standings, but it will have to wait, as Tyler Legacy (3-1) was able to pull out a 4-0 victory on Tuesday.
The pitchers were in control for much of the night with Fabian Escobedo for the Jaguars and Jackson Newhouse for the Raiders.
The difference came in the bottom of the sixth, when Tyler Legacy was able to push across four runs and that proved to the difference, as Newhouse completed the complete-game shutout, striking out seven and allowing only three hits.