With three games left in the 9-6A baseball season, there is still plenty left to be settled in the battle for the district championship, as well as the final four playoff spots.
This past week saw another shakeup in the standings, with Naaman Forest rising to the top, Rowlett bouncing back with a win on Tuesday and Sachse dropping a heartbreaker to Garland, narrowing the race for the final postseason berth.
The Mustangs and Owls engaged in a pitcher’s duel, with Logan May going for Sachse and Anthony Gonzales taking the mound for Garland.
May struck out nine and allowed no unearned runs on only four hits, while Gonzales surrendered only two hits in eight innings of work.
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when the Mustangs struck first. Watkins reached on an error, and then with two outs, another miscue in the field allowed him to come across with the game’s first run.
But the Owls matched that with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame and it remained that way until the bottom of the eight.
Garland loaded the bases with one out, and while Sachse recorded the second out, an error allowed the game-winning run to cross the plate.
That result allowed the Owls to improve to 6-5 to close to within one game of Sachse (7-4) for fourth place.
The Mustangs had been coming off a 6-2 win over North Garland last Thursday, as Keith Willis picked up the win on the mound after delivering seven strong innings, striking out five.
The Raiders actually struck first in the opening frame when Andrew Puente’s two-run single gave them a 2-0 lead.
Sachse cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame, as Jesse Ponce drew a two-out walk, Howard singled and Barkume had a RBI single.
The Mustangs surged ahead in the bottom of the second inning with another two-out rally.
Godfrey walked and Jhett Creel tied it with a run-scoring double. Rangel singled and Ponce and Howard followed with run-scoring base hits to make it a 4-2 game.
Sachse added to its advantage in the third inning. Watkins singled and scored on a base hit by Marcellus. Later in the at-bat, Rangel came through with a sacrifice fly to extend the advantage to 6-2.
That would be plenty for Willis, who did not allow a hit the rest of the way.
Rowlett improved to 8-3 on Tuesday with a victory over North Garland to move into a tie for second place with Wylie.
It was a nice bounce back for the Eagles, who were coming off back-to-back losses to Sachse and the Pirates.
Wylie was temporarily tied for first place, but that spot now belongs to Naaman Forest (9-2), who posted a 11-5 win in their head-to-head match-up on Tuesday.
The Rangers got a strong performance on the mound from Xavier Mitchell, who went 6.2 innings to notch the win.
Naaman Forest got on the board in the first inning, as Ty Willingham singled and Jaden Flores followed with a two-run home run for a quick 2-0 lead.
After Wylie pushed across a run in the bottom of the frame, the Rangers matched it in the top of the third, as Kenneth Haynes walked and Willingham doubled him home to take a 3-1 lead.
The Pirates tied it at 3-3 in the bottom of the third inning, but Naaman Forest again came right back.
Aidan Flores tripled and Haynes then went deep for a two-run home run to make it 5-3.
The Rangers established some breathing room in the sixth.
Aidan Flores reached on an error and scored on a double by Jayden Sternberg. The doubles parade continued, as Willingham and Jaden Flores followed with RBI two-baggers, Jason Flores reached on a base hit and Mitchell came through with a two-run double.
Alex Davila then singled home another run and it was suddenly 11-3 and Naaman Forest made sure that advantage would hold up until the end.
With the tightly-contested standings, every round of games is important and Friday features another big one as Naaman Forest hosts Rowlett, as the Eagles look to create another tie atop the standings.
Sachse looks to bounce back on the road at South Garland, North Garland hosts Garland and Lakeview is at home against Wylie.