High School Baseball Amarillo-area roundup

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Amarillo High teammates swarm Max McLemore after he delivered a walk-off base-hit against Plainview on Friday. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
It was a perfect ending on otherwise imperfect day Friday afternoon for the Amarillo High Sandies.

With an opportunity to cap a perfect district championship season in District 3-5A against Plainview at Sandie Field, Amarillo High didn’t seem to be embracing its chances for most of the first six innings against Plainview.

The Sandies headed into the bottom of the seventh tied with the Bulldogs in a game where they’d been outhit.

When it counted, though, Max McLemore made sure his at-bat lasted as long as possible to show why the Sandies were the undisputed best team in 3-5A this season.

McLemore singled to right-center to drive home Garrett Robertson with two outs in the bottom the seventh for the winning run as Amarillo High edged Plainview 3-2 in their final home game of the regular season.

The win gave the Sandies (22-8, 12-0 in district) an unbeaten district season as they’d already clinched the district title and No. 1 playoff seed a week earlier.

“Not only for the seniors but the whole team the experience is good going into the playoffs,” AHS coach Randon Johnson said. “You’ve got a chance right there to play a tight game going back and forth and it comes down to the seventh inning. All those things pay off as you keep moving forward and it was great to do that today.”

As the score indicated, offense was hard to come by in a game between two playoff teams as Plainview (13-16, 7-5) had already clinched the No. 2 seed from the district as well. Nobody held a lead for long and the Sandies just happened to be the last team to score on a day when it was hard to do so.

In each of the first six innings, Amarillo High got the leadoff batter in base, but that only produced two runs. Ironically, the seventh inning was the lone inning in which the Sandies didn’t get the first hitter on base.

“The old adage is get on, get ’em over and get ’em in, and we did the first two pretty good, but we weren’t real good at the third part of it,” Johnson said. “To do it without the leadoff guy on just shows we can do it a lot of different ways so that was good to see.”

With one out in the seventh, Garrett Robertson beat out an infield single to reach base against Plainview reliever Andrew Aguedis. Pinch hitter Mello Castillo then drew a walk, and with two outs McLemore came to the plate.

Amarillo High’s Max McLemore delivered a game-winning hit for the Sandies on Friday. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
McLemore then did his best Derek Jeter imitation at the plate, fouling off about half-dozen pitches against Aguedis to stay alive with two strikes. His patience paid off, as he lined a single to right-center and Robertson raced home with the winning run.

“I was trying to foul them until I got my pitch to hit and I finally got it and I hit it,” said McLemore, one of several AHS seniors playing his final regular season game at Sandie Field. “It was fun. I was being competitive and I didn’t want to strike out and end the inning like that.”

McLemore made his final home at-bat as a Sandie count, and he’ll be remembered for the game-winning hit which gave Amarillo High a perfect district season.

“To go undefeated in district means a lot,” McLemore said. “I don’t know when the last time we did that was, but I think it’s been awhile. I think we needed that as a team because we’ve been rolling through district and we needed to grind out a tough win before the playoffs.”

There were some typical elements in place throughout for the Sandies, such as the mound performance of senior right-hander Payne Williams. It wasn’t his most dominant performance as Plainview put a runner on base each inning, but he gutted it out, giving up only one earned run.

The Sandies got on the board first on Will Flaming’s RBI double in the third for a 1-0 lead. Plainview answered in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Davian Ramos.

Defense let Amarillo High down in the top of the sixth. Plainview’s Zach Soliz reached when Robertson misplayed a ball in the wind in left field, allowing Soliz to go all the way to third. With two outs, Williams walked Ramos, and reaching his pitch limit, was pulled for Creed Dye.

It appeared Dye would escape the jam, but third baseman Rylan Leathers bobbled Ian Sepeda’s grounder, allowing Soliz to score and give Plainview a brief 2-1 lead.

“We’d love to see him go even deeper into a game, but man, what a gritty performance by Payne,” Johnson said. “We could have easily helped him out and put some runs behind him. He did exactly what he had to do and kept us in the game.”

The Sandies tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Flaming led off by drawing a walk, stole second and scored on Clayton Norrell’s single.

Caprock thumps Palo Duro

Caprock took some momentum into the playoffs at Hodgetown, as the Longhorns completed the regular season by beating Palo Duro 10-3.

The Longhorns (10-14, 6-6) claim the district’s No. 3 playoff seed. Palo Duro finished a rough season, going 3-25 and 0-12.

Caprock scored seven runs in the first three innings, and the best the Dons could do was answer with three in the fourth. The Dons hurt themselves with six errors.

Leadoff hitter Brayden Haile set the table for the Longhorns with two hits and scored two runs. Adrian Morales also had two hits and two runs and Neyo Talamantez had two hits.

The Randall Raiders went 14-0 as the District 4-4A champions for a second straight year after beating Pampa on Friday. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

District 4-4A

Randall routs Pampa for perfect district mark

For the second straight year, the Randall Raiders hung a zero in their own loss column in district play.

Randall scored seven runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back to rout Pampa 11-1 in a five-inning 10-run mercy rule win at home, clinching a second straight perfect season in 4-4A. It was another textbook performance by the Raiders (20-9. 14-0).

Breken Melton’s three-run triple was the big blow in the first inning, in which Pampa (7-18, 3-11) also walked in two runners.

Melton had two hits and drove in four runs. Carson Haffner pitched five innings for the win, giving up three hits and striking out eight.

West Plains rolls past Dumas

The West Plains Wolves clinched the district’s No. 2 playoff seed in convincing fashion, scoring 12 runs over their final four innings to roll to a 14-6 win over Dumas and finish their home season.

West Plains (24-6, 11-3) scored in every inning against Dumas (7-21, 3-11), but trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the second. After tying the game, the Wolves took the lead for good with two runs in the third and seized the momentum with five runs in the fourth.

The Wolves used the long ball to great effect, as Jonnie Gifford hit a three-run home run to left field in the fifth. Jesse Flores hit a three-run shot in the fifth.

West Plains claimed second in the district because Canyon lost to Perryton 6-5.

That means Canyon (21-7-1, 10-4) has to settle for the No. 3 seed in the district. Perryton (12-18, 7-7) is tied with Hereford (17-10, 7-7) after Hereford beat Borger 11-1.

Those two schools will have a playoff for the fourth and final postseason spot.

District 1-3A

Bushland destroys Dalhart

In a game which typified the district season for Bushland, the Falcons scored 13 runs in the top of the second and never looked back, crushing Dalhart 28-5 in a five-inning run-rule win to seal up another unbeaten district season.

Bushland (23-2-1) ends 1-3A undefeated at 10-0 capping off an incredible 17th straight district championship.

Bushland actually trailed Dalhart (8-7, 5-5) 2-1 after one inning. That all changed with the second inning.

Kade Gavina had the big hit in the second with a three-run homer. It was the first of two homers for Gavina, who was 4-for-4 and drove in seven runs.

Stratton Molloy was 4-for-4 and drove in four runs for Bushland, and Max Rodriguez and Cannon Melban also had three hits and drove in four runs as the Falcons had 22 hits.

Other district games Friday saw Tulia hold off River Road 10-9 and Dimmitt down Friona 12-1.

District 1-2A

Gruver, Sunray to battle for No. 1-seed 

Gruver and Sunray both won earning Co-District 1-2A champions on Friday afternoon.

The Greyhounds beat Sanford-Fritch 12-2 while Sunray dominated Boys Ranch 15-2.

The Bobcats (14-4) and Greyhounds (14-5) will have a seeding game for the No. 1-seed at 2 p.m. Monday at West Texas High in Stinnett.

During the Greyhounds win against Fritch, Stephen Cowan was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. He also tossed four scoreless innings with seven K’s for the win.

In the Bobcats victory against Boys Ranch, Luke Grajeda was 2-for-2 including a double with two RBIs.
 
Booker (10-4 overall) is the No. 3-seed and West Texas High (9-11) is the No. 4-seed.

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