Mansfield Legacy Wins Twice Saturday to Take Bi-District Playoff Series From Nacogdoches
LINDALE — For a moment Saturday afternoon, it appeared Nacogdoches was primed for a first-round playoff upset of District 15-4A champion Mansfield Legacy.
Everything changed in a blink of an eye, and from the most unlikely source.
Kyle Watkins, Legacy’s nine-hole hitter, smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth that sent the Broncos past Nacogdoches 5-2, which sent their 4A Region II bi-district playoff series to a decisive third game. And in Game 3, Legacy scored in every inning to take down the Dragons, 13-7.
Mansfield Legacy, which dropped the series opener on Friday, advanced to the area round of the playoffs where it will face Pine Tree.
In Game 2 of the series, Nacogdoches carried a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the fifth. Legavy’s Kale Ward led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a balk and scored the tying run on Sam Mahofski’s sacrifice fly to right.
The Broncos put the first two runners on in the sixth — Robbie Stricklin reached on an error and Karson Houston drew a walk. After a strikeout, Watkins dug in and sent Hunter McClellan’s 0-1 offering over the left-field wall for a three-run homer that gave Legacy a 5-2 lead — its first of the game.
Nacogdoches had two runners reach with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Legacy’s Matthew Dickey struck out Dakota Phillips to send the series to Game 3.
Dickey allowed two runs on eight hits, struck out five and walked one in the complete-game victory.
Will Boozer led Nacogdoches at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Heath Holt was 2-for-3, while Brigham Hill and Pat Ledet drove in runs for the Dragons.
In the series’ decisive game, Legacy jumped out to 5-0 lead by scoring twice in the first and three times in the second. Nacogdoches, however, battled back with three runs in the second and two more in the third to cut the Broncos’ lead to 7-5.
However, the Dragons did not cross home plate again until scoring two runs in the seventh after Legacy had built a 13-5 lead.
Caleb Murray led Legacy at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a homer and three RBIs. He was also hit by a pitch three times.
Cole Hearrean got the win on the mound. He allowed seven runs and nine hits, but settled down after the third inning. From the fourth through the sixth, he allowed just one hit.
Nacogdoches’ heavy lifting on offense was done by Nate Harshbarger, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Boozer and Reed Watson each had two hits and scored a run, while Ashton Samford came off the bench to drive in two for the Dragons.
Mansfield Legacy 5, Nacogdoches 2
Class 4A Region II Bi-District Playoffs
Lindale ISD Baseball Complex
Nacogdoches 001 100 0 — 2 8 2
Mansfield Legacy 001 013 x — 5 5 1
Nacogdoches: Brigham Hill, Nate Harshbarger (3), Hunter McClellan (5) and Dakota Phillips. Mansfield Legacy: Matthew Dickey and Corey Murray.
WP — Dickey.
LP — McClellan.
2B — Nacogdoches: Hill. Mansfield Legacy: Kale Ward.
HR — Mansfield Legacy: Kyle Watkins (sixth inning, two on).
Mansfield Legacy 13, Nacogdoches 7
Lindale ISD Baseball Complex
Mansfield Legacy 232 121 2 — 13 9 1
Nacogdoches 032 000 2 — 7 9 4
Mansfield Legacy: Cole Hearrean and Murray. Nacogdoches: Will Boozer, Pearson Randle (1), Tucker Irwin (3), Kyle Elliot (5) and Phillips, Ashton Samford (6).
WP — Hearrean.
LP — Boozer.
2B — Mansfield Legacy: Chayce Steelman, Hearrean. Nacogdoches: Harshbarger.
HR — Mansfield Legacy: Murray (fourth inning, solo).