McKINNEY — Camden Duzenack hit a walk-off single as Melissa rallied in the seventh to defeat Sanger 9-8 on Saturday afternoon in Game 2 to sweep the Class 3A Region II area-round series at McKinney Boyd High School.
“It seems like 80 percent of our games have been one-run games,” said Sanger head coach Steve Ford. “These kids fought hard.”
Melissa (25-7), which had 13 hits, advanced to the regional quarterfinals for the third straight year and first time as a 3A program. The Cardinals will face Argyle, which defeated Bonham 11-0 on Friday at Prosper to advance.
Cody Martin doubled and joined Austen Lange with three hits and an RBI for Sanger, which had 10 hits and no errors.
Duzenack’s hit capped a three-run seventh inning for Melissa, started by Cory Regan’s game-tying two-run, one-out double deep down the left-field line. Regan’s hit scored Chris Smith and J.C. Cottrell whose steal of second base during Regan’s at-bat gave the Cardinals two runners in scoring position after each reached via a single.
Sanger had regained the lead at 8-6 in the top of the seventh with three runs. Wilding Smith tied the game with an RBI single to score Anthony Escobedo, who drew a leadoff walk off new reliever Zach Torres. Courtesy runners Tanner Thomas and Cole Anderson scored on Brennan Bloom’s sacrifice fly to center field and on a late throw home following a dropped third strike toss to first.
Melissa led 6-5 after five innings via Grant Meeks’ three-run, two-out double in the fifth that landed just out of the reach of Sanger’s sliding center fielder.
Combined with their one run in the fourth, the fifth-inning outburst by the Cardinals answered four in the top of the fourth by the Indians. Third baseman Wilding Smith’s diving stop in the fourth started a fielder’s choice out at second base for the second out to limit Melissa.
Martin hit an RBI double and Kyle Stephens singled in another to left center with one out to highlight the four-run fourth that gave Sanger a 5-2 lead. Thomas scored on Martin’s hit after stealing second and third during Martin’s at-bat.
An errant throw to third and delayed steal of home brought in Kody Adams, who hit a bloop single to load the bases, and Stephens for the Indians’ other runs in the fourth.
Aggressive baserunning in the first two innings helped Melissa take a 2-1 lead. C.J. Tyler and Regan each had RBI singles in the first and second to score Cade Cruce and Landon Wilson, who each hit one-out singles before stealing second and third.
However, Sanger did limit the damage on the basepaths in the opening few innings when catcher Lange threw out a runner to end the first inning and another to negate a leadoff walk in the third on steal attempts. In the second, the Indians also doubled off a runner at first after a line out to the pitcher for an inning-ending double play.
“We started to be more aware, executed more plays and focused on slowing down their running game,” said Ford, “or at least managing it.”
Sanger (21-13) took a 1-0 lead on Lange’s RBI single into right field in the first, scoring Escobedo who reached on a two-out error.
Melissa retired seven of the next eight Indians, thanks to standout defensive plays.
Shortstop Duzenack lunged to his right for a catch in the second for the second out after a Martin’s leadoff single. Left fielder Cottrell made a diving, sliding catch across the foul line to end the third.
Melissa 9, Sanger 8
WP — Zach Torres LP — Roy Hedgecock 2B — S: Cody Martin; M: Grant Meeks, Cory Regan. Records — Sanger 21-13; Melissa 25-7.