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Baseball: 4-run sixth puts Liberty into title game

Profile image for By John Hillman / For the Denton Record-Chronicle
By John Hillman / For the Denton Record-Chronicle

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

Prestonwood

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000

0

3

7

1

Liberty

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004

x

4

3

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WP — Hayden Holley. LP — Tristan Metten. 2B — P: Ryan Cash; LC: Connor McMann. 3B: LC: Michael Whittle.