In a pitchers’ duel marred only by some costly fielding miscues, Sanger struck last and loudest Friday night.
Wilding Smith’s double in the bottom of the seventh tied up the Class 3A bi-district series opener at Denton High School. Then teammate Kody Adams followed with a bases-loaded drive to the same right-center field gap to give the Indians a 3-2 walk-off win over Frisco Lone Star.
Now 21-10 on the season, the District 9-3A co-champions need just one more win today to advance to the postseason’s second week.
Game 2 of the series at DHS will begin at 1 p.m. with a Game 3, if needed, to follow immediately.
“I like our chances,” Sanger coach Steve Ford said, indicating he’ll pitch Ross Scott in Game 2.
Scott is undefeated with an ERA of about 1.50, Ford said.
Friday night’s game centered around the pitching of Lone Star right-hander Tyler Levan and Sanger lefty Goose Ritzel, both of whom labored for 6 1/3 innings.
Levan mixed a fastball with high 80s zip and a sweeping curve to notch eight strikeouts and allow just four hits.
Ritzel wasn’t as sharp, walking five to offset four strikeouts. But he battled.
“Goose was outstanding,” Ford said. “He did exactly what I asked — keep us in the game and give us a chance.”
Ritzel finished with just three hits allowed and both runs scored by Lone Star were unearned.
But the Indians trailed 2-1 heading into their final at-bat.
“There was a bunch of pressure,” admitted Smith, a sophomore.
Given the four Sanger errors that led to unearned Lone Star runs in the second and fifth frames, it seemed only fair when Anthony Escobedo reached base on a dropped fly ball to open the bottom of the seventh.
Austin Lange, who had doubled home a game-tying run in the fourth, then took a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second. Smith followed with a blast that one-hopped the fence at the 374-foot sign, scoring Escobedo and tying the game 2-2.
“Our five-hole hitter [Smith] is a stud,” Ford said. “When we got men on, I knew he’d see a fastball. It’s too big a risk to bounce a breaking ball in there.
“He saw a fastball, and he drove it.”
After getting a strikeout, Levan plunked Roy Hedgecock to load the bases. Adams did the rest, lashing a hit just out of the reach of a diving Rangers right fielder.
“With the bases loaded and one out, we just had to put the ball in play,” Adams said. “That’s what we did. Tomorrow, we’ve just got to go out and play like we did today.”
Class 3A playoffs
Sanger 3, Frisco Lone Star 2