TYLER -- The Red Raiders got a rough reality check in a 5-1 loss against North Mesquite in Friday's 12-5A game following a nice win against Mesquite Horn earlier in the week.

The Stallions were out of action Tuesday and had their ace ready to go for the team's district opener at Mike Carter Field. Tyler Starks subsequently allowed three hits and struck out eight Red Raiders on just 84 pitches for the win.

"The young man is good," Lee head coach William David Howard said. "He did what he does. This is the third year we have seen him and that's what he does. He competes in the strike zone with three pitches and he gets kids out."

Henry Smith pitched a quality start for Lee. He went 5.2 innings, allowing six hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

A rough top of the third was too much for the Red Raiders to overcome.

North Mesquite's Kyle Gumm drew Henry's only walk with one out, and the Stallions strung together back-to-back singles to follow it up. Starks played into a fielder's choice at second base which allowed Gumm to come home.

Bobby Albier then doubled to score two runs on a ball briefly caught in the lights on the way to center field before Lee stopped the bleeding.

North Mesquite added a run in the fifth inning and then a final score in the seventh.

Lee had a few chances.

Most notably, Clayton Hodges was stranded at third to end the third inning.

The breakthrough came in the bottom sixth when Hodges got his second base hit of the night through the right gap. Parker Bramlett laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Hodges. Parker Bates followed up the bunt with a hit to move Hodges to third and then stole second base on the next at-bat.

Chandler Hill reached first safely on a fielding error with two outs in the inning to score Hodges and cut the lead to 4-1. The Stallions (8-7-1, 1-0) recorded the final out of the inning a moment later with opposing runners at the corners.

Lee went three up and three down in the game's final frame.

"They had a chance with runners on and they run them ball-to-wall," Howard said. "We had a chance with runners on and we don't execute. We don't get it accomplished. Part of it goes to Starks for making the pitch and part of it goes on us because we've got to get a hit when the opportunity presents itself."

The Raiders fell to 1-1 in district play and 7-7-1 overall. It was a disappointing slip up in a loaded league with games against district favorites Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath still on the horizon.

Lee will be off in the midweek and squares off with Rockwall on March 21.

"We've got a week off the regroup and then we go play Rockwall next Friday," Howard said. "It definitely doesn't get any easier. It's one of the best teams in the state. We've got to find a way to get on the bus and go up there, be in the game late and find a way to win it."

 

North Mesquite 5, Tyler Lee 1

North Mesquite               003   010   1   —   5   7   2
Tyler Lee                        000   001   0   —   1   3   2

Pitchers and Catchers
  • North Mesquite: Tyler Starks and Hunter Jenkins.
  • Tyler Lee: Henry Smith, Parker Bats (6) and Tyler Jones, Mark Schwartz (6).

WP — Starks.
LP — Smith.

Doubles
  • North Mesquite: Bobby Albier.
  • Tyler Lee: Clayton Hodges.