Tyler Lee Stays On Track For Playoff Berth With 6-0 Shutout of Mesquite
TYLER -- Things were not going well for the Tyler Lee Red Raiders on Tuesday night in their most important game of the season.
And then everything changed.
Tyler Jones' two-out, two-strike RBI single to center field accounted for the first of six fourth-inning runs in the Red Raiders' crucial 6-0 victory over Mesquite at Mike Carter Field.
Lee's win, coupled with North Mesquite's 4-1 victory over Longview, put the Red Raiders (14-9, 6-4) alone in third place with two games remaining in the District 12-5A season -- at Longview on Friday and at home against district-leading Rockwall-Heath in the regular-season finale April 26.
"The way this district is, you've got to get every one of them that you can," said Lee coach David Howard. "We were able to get this one, which is good; that's (district win) number six. But like I told our guys, 'win number seven puts us in (the playoffs).' Our work's in front of us, but I'm pleased with getting this win tonight to put ourself in position to do what we need to do."
Locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth, Lee's Chandler Hill reached first with two outs on a fielding error by the Mesquite (10-14, 1-10) shortstop.
Ryan Rendon followed with a double down the left-field line that would've scored Hill had the ball not exited the field of play because of an open gate. The umpires ruled Rendon's hit a ground-rule double, meaning Hill had to retreat to third base.
Mesquite pitcher Dakota Taylor then quickly got ahead of Jones 0-2, before the Lee catcher lined a single to center field to give Lee a 1-0 lead. The Red Raiders didn't stop there, adding five more runs before the final out was recorded.
"That's the right call as frustrating as it is, that's the right call," Howard said of the umpire's ruling of a ground-rule double. "But you've got to give our kids credit. I was frustrated, but our kids got in the box and put runs on the board. We got two or three hits in a row to not just score, but score six."
After the Jones single, Lee used two more Mesquite errors, a wild pitch and RBI singles from Trace Reed and Zach Flanagan to put the game out of reach.
Prior to the fourth-inning outburst, Lee had three runners cut down on the basepaths that quelled scoring threats.
Flanagan earned the complete-game win. He allowed four singles and struck out nine, at one point retiring 13 consecutive batters.
"He battled early," Howard said of Flanagan. "I wouldn't say it's as sharp as he's been those first three innings. About the fourth, he settled in and got back into the rhythm we're used to seeing him in. And from then on, he really pounded the strike zone and did a good job."
District 12-5A Baseball
Mike Carter Field, Tyler
Tyler Lee 6, Mesquite 0
Mesquite 000 000 0 -- 0 4 4
Tyler Lee 000 600 x -- 6 7 0
MES: Dakota Taylor, Marcus Muniz (6) and Tanner Logsdon. LEE: Zach Flanagan and Tyler Jones.
WP -- Flanagan.
LP -- Taylor.
2B -- LEE: Blake Hamblett, Ryan Rendon, Marty Antilley.