WACO — Michael Whittle hit a game-tying two-run, pinch-hit triple, and Benn Hawkins delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly as Argyle Liberty Christian came from behind to defeat Plano Prestonwood Christian 4-3 in the TAPPS Class 5A baseball state semifinals on Monday.
“I knew I had a job to do and went to the plate to do it,” said Whittle, who drove the ball into the right-center gap. “I saw a high fastball, took a hack at it and good things happened.”
Trailing 3-0 in the top of the sixth, Liberty Christian (26-9) caught a break when Prestonwood Christian (29-6) center fielder Blake Frasier dropped leadoff hitter Foster Ford’s flyball for a two-base error.
With one out, Ethan Luna was hit by a pitch, and Connor McMann doubled to left for Liberty Christian’s first run. Whittle followed with his big two-run blow, and Hawkins flied to center for the final run.
“We call him ‘The ballcrusher,’” Liberty Christian head coach Johnny Isom said of Whittle. “We put him a in spot to be a difference maker, and he comes through.”
Prestonwood Christian scored all three of their runs in the third. Jake Deaton walked, Ryan Cash doubled, and Zachary Christian loaded the bases with a walk.
Tristan Metten punched an RBI-single to right, and Taylor Becerra’s single plated another run. Frasier took a pitch on the shoulder, putting Prestonwood Christian in front 3-0.
Hayden Holley collected the win for Liberty Christian, pitching 4 2/3 innings in relief of McMann and held Prestonwood Christian scoreless over the last four innings.
Liberty Christian meets Houston St. Pius X, a 5-1 winner over Houston St. Thomas, for the state title today in Belton.
Liberty Christian 4, Prestonwood 3
WP — Hayden Holley. LP — Tristan Metten. 2B — P: Ryan Cash; LC: Connor McMann. 3B: LC: Michael Whittle.