Falcons take Game 1 vs. Mustangs, 13-2
By Van Wade
The News Sports Writer
BEAUMONT – It was tough sledding for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs in Game One of their Class 4A Region III Finals matchup with the Huffman Falcons Wednesday night at Lamar University’s Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The Falcons picked up 11 hits as they went on to defeat the Mustangs 13-2.
The Mustangs (24-10) have been in this same spot the last two weeks in Game One losses to both Bellville and Carthage but rallied back to take both Game Two and Game Three of those series.
Game Two will start at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lamar University with Game Three, if necessary, to follow 30 minutes after Game Two.
The Falcons (26-4) received a complete-game four-hitter from pitcher Jake Harrison, who had eight strikeouts to go along with five walks.
Grant Anderson worked 4 2/3 innings for the Mustangs, allowing seven hits while striking out four and walking five.
Payton Robertson tossed the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing four hits.
The Falcons took advantage of four walks, a hit batter, a Mustang error and just one hit to tally three runs in the top of the first inning.
Cody Gaitan drew a one-out walk and Richard Marches followed with a walk and Gaitan advanced to third on a throwing error. Gaitan came across to score the game’s first run on a passed ball.
Cody Stone was intentionally walked and Justin Waltmon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Marches came in to score off a walk to Stephen Keller.
Dylan Lorfing got the game’s first hit when he hit a hopping single to shallow rightfield to plate Stone.
Gaitan made it 4-0 in the top of the second when he took a Anderson offering over the leftfield fence for solo homer.
In the bottom of the second, Aidan Anderson and Chase Rutledge drew one-out walks but Harrison worked out of it by fanning both Kalen Garrett and Ryan Ragsdale.
Huffman was able to scratch in a run in the top of the third.
Waltmon got a leadoff walk and Keller singled to left. With one out, James Tutor reached on an error at third as Waltmon was able to scoot in to score.
The Mustangs bounced back with two runs with two outs in the bottom of the third.
Payton Robertson drew a two-out walk and Grant Anderson planted a deep double down the third-base line. Jack Dallas promptly stroked a two-run single up the middle.
Keller had a leadoff double to start the top of the fifth for the Falcons but was eventually nailed at third base after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Lorfing, who reached at first on the fielder’s choice. With two outs, Jake Bumgarner brought home Lorfing with a deep double to left. Matthew Bumpas followed with a RBI single to shallow left-centerfield to score Bumgarner, making it 7-2.
The Mustangs threatened in the bottom of the fifth but left the bases loaded.
Grant Anderson had a one-out single to center and advanced to second on an error. Dallas followed with a walk and Aidan Anderson loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice. Harrison got out of the jam by getting Rutledge to ground into a double play.
The Falcons added a run in the top of the sixth.
Stone led off with a sharp double to left. Pinch runner Blake Boss took third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error at third on a pickoff attempt.
Huffman picked up five runs in the top of the seventh.
Bumgarner got on with one out after being hit by a pitch and Bumpas followed with a single to right, moving Bumgarner to third. Marches made it 9-2 by slapping a two-out RBI single to left.
After Stone was hit by a pitch and Waltmon reached on a walk to load the bases, Keller unleashed a three-run double to left to finish the scoring.