Anna and Melissa both made their way through bracket play at the Grayson-Collin Electrical Coop annual baseball tournament in Van Alstyne to set up a cold, dreary, fantastic game on Saturday night at Panther field.
Playing in just barely above-freezing temperatures - with wind chills in the 20s and everyone hoping that the rain would hold off – the red birds and the scrappy dogs put together a district preview game that should have locals filling the stands when the teams meet back up in a few weeks.
Melissa came away with the big win, 13-6, but eight of those runs came in the final inning after Anna had taken the lead in the top of the frame.
Tournament rules had the game at a two-hour contest and the two teams used every minute of it. Melissa was ahead in the bottom of the fourth when time expired.
Zach Torres was the starting pitcher for the Cardinals, and in the top of the first Anna had runners in scoring position when Jeremy Gee came to the plate with two outs on the board looking to put his team up. Torres won the battle, striking Gee out and the Coyotes left two runners stranded early.
C.J. Tyler had an RBI double in the first to get Melissa on the board, and Torres brought him in a few plays later. Paul Maruffo had an RBI triple to put Melissa up by three at the end of the first.
Anna was able to reply in the third as Ty Chapman scored the Coyote’s first run.
The Cardinals extended their lead in the bottom of the third when a fielding error scored Tyler. Another RBI by Maruffo put Melissa up by four runs. After loading the bases, Anna changed pitchers, bringing in junior Clayton Morris who got a strikeout to close out the inning.
Looking to stay in the game, Anna came alive in its next at-bat. Kyle Leonard clocked an RBI triple that scored Brayden Houston, and Chapman brought Anna within one on a two-RBI double.
Chapman later scores on a wild pitch, and before the Melissa was able to get the final out Gage Scribner scored the go-ahead run. At that point, it looked for all the world as though the Coyotes had the momentum.
Morris got the first two outs in the fourth quickly with infield defensive play, but Melissa was able to rattle off eight straight runs to close out the game. Cade Cruce scored the tying run, while Torres snapped an RBI single that brought Jace Whittington in to give the Cardinals the lead for good.
Melissa went through its lineup in the inning, bringing in several more runs to get the win as time expired.
Melissa will be back in action when it hosts Ferris on Monday. Anna will kick off district play against Community on Tuesday.