There was no quit in either team playing in the weekend Class 3A playoffs at Denton High School, and on Saturday evening it was Sanger that survived to play another day.
“It was back and forth, real close,” Indians first baseman Ted Wisdom said. “But we executed when we really needed to, and we came out on top.”
By the slimmest of margins, Sanger closed out the best-of-three series against Frisco Lone Star with a 12-11 win a little after suppertime Saturday. That came after Lone Star rallied to win Saturday’s midday game 7-6.
Sanger (22-10) had rallied in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 win Friday night. The District 9-3A co-champion now will take on 12-3A champion Melissa in an area-round series next week.
Wisdom went 3-for-4 at the plate in the decisive Game 3 and found himself on the mound for the final two innings. Things got hairy as Sanger tried to protect a 12-8 lead.
Lone Star, making its first appearance in the playoffs, took advantage of two Sanger errors to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth. The Indians escaped unscathed as Wisdom coaxed a called strikeout and a groundout.
In the seventh, Lone Star’s first three batters singled and scored — one on Tyler Levan’s fourth hit of the game and two on RBI groundouts. With two away, Sanger’s defense uncorked its fifth error of the game, as if to add suspense.
Then third baseman Wilding Smith touched off a Sanger celebration when he gloved a grounder and threw to first for the final out.
“We had some communication problems out there we’ve got to work on and some things went right for the other team, but our guys kept fighting,” Indians coach Steve Ford said. “All three games we fought. Frisco did, too.”
Lone Star (12-15-1) outhit Sanger 16-13 in the series finale.
Roy Hedgecock led the Indians by going 4-for-4 in Game 3, including a hit in a four-run fifth that gave Sanger an 11-8 lead. The Rangers had battled back from 4-0 and 7-3 deficits to take an 8-7 lead off Sanger starter Anthony Escobedo in the bottom of the fourth.
Because Escobedo didn’t finish five innings, Brennan Bloom was able to earn his third decision of the bi-district playoff with a scoreless fifth inning.
Bloom nailed down Sanger’s final two outs Friday — before the Indians rallied from a 2-1 deficit in their final at-bat — and his two-inning stint in relief of Ross Scott in Game 2 saw him give up a game-tying double and winning sacrifice fly.
The Indians had used their biggest inning of the weekend, a five-run fifth, to come from behind for a 6-5 lead that if maintained would have given them a two-game sweep of Lone Star.
Wisdom’s two hits topped the Sanger charts in Game 2, as Ranger right-hander Austin DeLeon held the Indians to six hits in going the distance.