Mule Bi-District Baseball vs. Boys Ranch (5-2&3-14)
The Mules defeated the Boys Ranch Rough Riders in a best two-out-of-three series for the Bi-District Championship Friday and Saturday. It is the first time the Mule baseball team had made the playoffs in six years.
It was a home-and-home series with the first game being played in Boys Ranch on Friday. The Rough Riders traveled to Muleshoe on Saturday to finish the series.
Nacho Elizalde got the start both days but left the game on Friday with no decision. Wes Clarkson relieved Elizalde on Friday and the Rough Riders tied the game at 11-11 after five innings and again at 13-13 after seven innings.
The Mules crossed the plate five times in the top of the ninth inning and held on to defeat Boys Ranch 18-13 in two extra innings and Clarkson was the winning hurler.
The Mules seemed to use the five runs scored in the ninth inning on Friday to power them to a 13-6 win on Saturday afternoon. The Mules never trailed in the second game. Elizalde again got the start and was the winning pitcher.
Danny Campos came in a pitched two and two-thirds innings. Clarkson got the final two outs.
The first batter for Boys Ranch Saturday skied a ball to right center field but Grey Johnson made a catch on the run for the first out of the day. The second batter hit a ground ball single through the hole between short stop and third base.
A ground ball back to Elizalde sacrificed the runner to second base and the next batter walked. The runner at second took off for third and Elizalde over threw Danny Campos at third base.
Beto Diaz ran in to grab the loose ball and fired a strike home to Dustin Smith. The runner did not attempt to slide and ran over Smith knocking the ball loose. The second runner also came home and kicked dirt in Smith’s face while he was still on the ground.
The home plate umpire called the first runner out for not sliding home as it is against the rules to not slide and run over a defensive player. That was the third out and neither run counted and the first runner was ejected from the game for unnecessary rough play.
Matt Barron led off for the Mules in the bottom half of the first inning and hit a fly ball single to short center field. Nathan Rejino slapped a ground ball through the hole in to left field to put Mules at first and second with no outs.
Barron stole second on the first pitch to Diaz. Rejino drew the throw to second base on the next pitch. Barron broke home when the catcher threw the ball and stole home. The throw from second back home was late and Rejino could have walked the rest of the way to second base. Diaz bunted back to the pitcher to sacrifice Rejino to third. Rejino scored on a wild pitch that got past the catcher.
Smith doubled to right center field but was caught attempting to stretch it to a triple with throws from center to second and on to third for the tag. The Mules led 2-0 after one inning of play.
Barron caught a line drive from the lead off batter of the second inning. Elizalde struck out the next batter on three pitches and a ground ball to Barron ended the inning. The Mules did not score in the bottom half of the inning and continued to lead 2-0 going into the third inning.
A ground ball and two strike outs kept the Rough Riders off the score board in the top of the third inning.
An error on the second baseman allowed Rejino to reach first in the bottom of the third with one out. Diaz singled to right center to put Mules at the corners. Diaz stole second base with no throw to second. Smith singled to right field to score both Rejino and Diaz.
Smith attempted to steal second on the first pitch to Jesus Manzanares. The pitcher appeared to balk not once but twice but no call was made. Smith was called out on a throw from the pitcher.
Manzanares lined a single to center field and stole second base. Campos doubled to right field to score Manzanares and put the Mules ahead 5-0 after three innings.
A walk, a double and single scored two Rough Riders in the top of the fourth inning.
The Mules got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning after Barron walked with one out. He stole second base and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Diaz singled to left to score Barron to keep the Mules ahead 6-2.
Campos had relieved Elizalde for the final out of the fourth inning and came back in the top of the fifth inning. He gave up a double to the first batter he faced. A sacrifice fly to deep right field was chased down by Manzanares but the runner advanced to third after tagging up at second.
Campos struck out the next Rough Rider but gave up a double to score a run. A walk and another double scored a second run and Boys Ranch had cut the Mule lead to 6-4.
Campos struck out with one out in the fifth inning. But the catcher dropped the ball and Campos stole first base. He went to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. Clarkson walked and stole second base with no throw.
Keagan Gonzales’ ground ball tied the short stop in knots and Campos scored. Johnson laid a bunt down the first baseline for an infield single that scored Clarkson from third. Gonzales went home on a throwing error. Barron doubled to score Johnson to put the Mules on top 10-4 after five innings.
It was three up and three down for the Rough Riders in the top of the sixth inning.
Smith was hit by a pitch to start the bottom half of the sixth inning and he stole second base. Manzanares hit a line drive into left field for a single and Smith advanced to third. Smith scored on a wild pitch and Manzanares went to second.
A second wild pitch sent Manzanares to third base. Campos was hit by a pitch and went to second on a wild pitch. Jason Florez blasted a single to right center field to score both Manzanares and Campos to end the Mule scoring at 13. The Mules led 13-4 after six innings.
The Rough Riders could not make up the difference in the seventh inning but did score two runs.
The Mules will play the Idalou Wildcats on the Levelland Lobo Field. It is a two-out-of-three series with the first game to be played at 6:00 PM Friday afternoon. The second game will be on the same field Saturday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:00 PM.
Admission the Area Round of the Texas State Baseball Playoffs is $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for students.