Roadrunner Rally Falls Short In Opening-Round Loss To Wharton

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AC Falls into Saturday’s Elimination Bracket

Even when they were down by eight runs, the Angelina College Roadrunners didn’t panic. After all, it was mere days ago when they’d staged a late rally from nearly the same deficit.

AC got its rally, but it ended up being too little, too late in an 11-8 loss to Wharton College in Friday’s opening round of the Region XIV Conference Tournament at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

Angelina College shortstop Tony Lima (2) looks to the ump for a call after his diving tag on a Wharton College runner during Friday’s Region XIV Conference Tournament game. The Roadrunners fell into Saturday’s elimination bracket with an 11-8 loss to the Pioneers in Sugar Land. (AC Press photo by Gary Stallard)
Angelina College shortstop Tony Lima (2) looks to the ump for a call after his diving tag on a Wharton College runner during Friday’s Region XIV Conference Tournament game. The Roadrunners fell into Saturday’s elimination bracket with an 11-8 loss to the Pioneers in Sugar Land. (AC Press photo by Gary Stallard)

The Pioneers opened up a 4-0 lead in the first three innings, but put the game out of reach with a six-run inning in the fourth – a half inning after AC posted two unearned runs to get to within a 4-2 score. Wharton’s Spencer Griffin hit a two-run homer, and Rene Pineda and Monty Kaley each added two-run singles in the inning.

With his team trailing 10-2, AC head coach Jeff Livin walked up and down the dugout, reminding his team “We haven’t even started hitting yet.” Reliever Kevin Roe entered in the fourth inning for the ‘Runners, holding the Pioneers in check – he allowed a single earned run over the next five innings – until the AC bats caught up.

The Roadrunners began chipping away, getting three runs in the fifth: Cort McPherson scored a pair with a two-run triple, and Chris Estrada got a run home via sacrifice fly. 10-5, Pioneers.

In the sixth, Jacob Finke took a pitch off his leg, later scoring on a passed ball for a 10-6 Wharton lead. Mitch Henshaw in the seventh blasted an opposite-field, two-run homer to pull AC to within two runs at 10-8.

The Pioneers added a run in their half of the seventh when Griffin tripled and scored on an Enrique Sanchez double, leaving Wharton with the 11-8 lead. Wharton closer Joseph Baltrip shut down the Roadrunners in order in the ninth, dropping AC into Saturday’s elimination bracket.

AC will take on the winner of the Navarro/Galveston game at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be available via live streaming by visiting tsrnsports.com.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is gstallard@angelina.edu.

Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

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