ATASCOCITA -The Atascocita Eagles left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning and left two runners on in the bottom of the seventh as the Kingwood Mustangs got out of two jams to leave with a one run lead, 3-2, in the first game of district play.
Freshman Masyn Winn, who pitched out of the jams, ending both innings with a strikeout looking admitted that he was extremely nervous and wanted to just focus on throwing strikes and try not to think too much about the situation.
Coach Kelly Mead told the team before the game they were going to face some adversity and their success was going to depend on how they handled that adversity. He told the team rivalry games always seem to be close games.
Kingwood started the scoring in the top of the second inning. They scored two runs and sent eight batters to the plate even though they only had one hit the entire half inning. The Mustangs drew two walks, had two players hit by a pitch, and senior catcher Jacob Duane reached on an error.
They added to their lead in the fourth inning when senior third baseman AJ Irvin drew a walk and scored on a double by junior left fielder Benjamin Cegelski.
The Eagles began to mount a comeback, scoring a run in the fourth and then again in the sixth.
The Mustangs left 11 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Mead said that is a major area where the team needs to improve, but he cited it as another example of the team overcoming adversity to win the game.
Mead said that getting a victory in the opening game of district play and beating their rival team was nice, he doesn't want the team to look to far ahead.
"We don't want to look to the next one until this one's over with. We focus on one pitch, one half inning at a time, but, yeah, momentum is good," he said.
Winn said that the energy from the dugout was a significant factor in helping the team succeed.
"At the beginning of the season, we kind of had a hard time getting from inning one to inning seven. We'd show up at inning five and then come out really loud in inning seven, but today we were working hard all day (in the dugout)," he said.
The Mustangs thought they had won the game one batter before the game ended when a ball hit back to the pitcher's mound resulted in a close play at first base with the umpire calling the runner safe.
Winn said that moment was difficult because, "we were at a high right then, thinking we had just beat our rivals, and then for him to call him safe. We all thought he was out, but we can't do anything about it after that, so we just kind of had to go with it."
Once again, he tried to solely focus on throwing strikes.
"There's going to be a lot of happy faces, a lot of smiling faces, a lot of talking about it too," said Winn of what he expected on the bus ride back to Kingwood.