Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Liberty bounced from playoffs in semifinals
WACO — Liberty cruised for five innings. But things unraveled, and Houston St. Thomas advanced to the TAPPS Class 5A baseball championship game with a 4-3 eight-inning win over Liberty Christian.
“My heart just breaks for the seniors,” Warrior head coach Johnny Isom said. “It’s a tough way to lose the game. St. Thomas got some timely hits when they needed them.”
Tied 3-3, Chad Nack, who relieved starter Trevor Simms in the seventh, walked Andrew Jones to open the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Taylor Craig and Ryan Olive loaded the bases by poking singles to right.
“Walks killed us, and it went downhill from there,” Nack said.
Harrison Ayala hit a sharp grounder to third, and Jared Cook forced Jones at the plate.But Conor Biggio dribbled a ball in the infield, and shortstop Denton Martin couldn’t make the throw in time as Craig scored the winning run.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew I had a chance to get there with my speed,” Biggio said. “I just wanted our team to have a chance at a second state championship.”
The Warriors (29-10-2) dominated the defending Class 5A state champions for the first five innings, taking a 3-0 lead. But the Eagles (24-12) tied the contest in the sixth with a combination of walks, hits, and an error.
Simms, who allowed only one hit prior to his final inning, walked Conor Biggio to open the sixth and issued a one-out base-on-balls to Cavan Biggio. Hunter Kopycinski put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a single up-the-middle.
Jones followed with a single to left, and the ball escaped catcher Michael Speanburg on the play at the plate. Simms retrieved it and threw wildly to second attempting to nail pinch runner Cameron Blackwood.
Blackwood advanced to third on the error and scored the tying run on Ross Sumbera’s sacrifice fly.
“I had trouble finding the strike zone, and I think our defense might have fallen asleep a little.” Simms said.“We had a few ground balls that got through.”
The Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the third.Kyle Metzger stroked a one-out, single to left, and Martin followed with a triple to the right-field corner.After Speanburg popped up on an attempted squeeze play, Corey Dodd delivered an RBI-single to left.
In the fourth, Liberty Christian padded its margin to 3-0.Neal Bohannon singled with one out, and Foster Ford bunted him to second.Jared Cook then lined a shot to right, plating Bohannon.
Houston St. Thomas 4, Liberty Christian 3 (8)
Houston St. Thomas
WP — Austin Fairchild.LP — Chad Nack. 3B: Liberty – Denton Martin. Records – Liberty 29-10-2, Houston St. Thomas 24-12