HSAA beats Melissa in Grayson finale

The Cardinals gave up five runs in the middle innings on Saturday, March 11, and that was enough for the Home School Athletic Association Angels to claim victory at Sherman on the final day of play at the Grayson County tournament.

Daniel Wilbanks pitched but two outs for HSAA, scattering five hits and fanning five batters. Krisjon Segleski worked three innings for Melissa, allowing six hits and three earned runs with two strikeouts, before giving way to Sam Cain and Austin Testerman. All told, Cardinal pitchers allowed nine hits.

Melissa’s Dalton Vestal went 3-for-3 at the plate and teammates Adam Davis and Andrew Cole added a single apiece. The Cards (4-11-1) jumped on top with one run in the first inning, courtesy of a Davis line-drive single to center that scored Vestal from third.

Cardinals’ fifth tops McKinney JV

Melissa rallied from two down in the fifth inning for a 5-2 win over Class 6A McKinney’s JV squad at Denison on Friday, March 10. The Cardinals out-hit the Lions, 8-1, as Adam Davis, Andrew Cole and Krisjon Segleski led the way with two hits each.

Davis went most of the way on the mound as well (4-10-1), striking out four in 4-and-2/3 innings. Sam Turnage closed out the final frame with two Ks.

“That was tough going from a guy (for Cedar Hill) that was throwing really hard to McKinney’s guy who used a lot of off-speed,” Melissa head coach Jason Russell said. “The velocity wasn’t where we’d seen it.”

In the Cards’ four-run fifth, Davis singled to left, moving Brady Morrison to second. Cole’s ground out then moved runners to second and third. Segleski’s line drive to center scored Morrison and Melissa trailed, 2-1. Then David Crees’ well-executed bunt brought home the tying run before Turnage hit into a fielder’s choice that delivered the go-ahead score by Trevor Brooks. With two outs, Jake Burrow reached first on an error and Turnage came home, boosting the Cards’ lead to 4-2. In the sixth, Melissa added one more when Vestal raced home on Cole’s single to center.

“We did a good job and finally battled back and scratched some runs,” Russell said. “David Crees getting the squeeze down … that’s huge. It’s the little things. We’re starting to figure it out. We played much better today. We had really one bad half-inning. It was a really good day for us.”

Melissa, Cedar Hill battle ends in a tie

Though it ended in a 3-3 tie, this game against Cedar Hill provided Melissa’s Cardinals a needed boost.

“It was good to see us get out there and compete against (Class) 6A,” Melissa head coach Jason Russell said. “They had been hitting the ball really, really well and were kind of the talk of the tournament.”

After being shut-out for six innings, the Longhorns nearly ruined the Cards’ day in the seventh, rallying from two down for a 3-2 lead. But Brady Morrison would open Melissa’s half the seventh with a walk and move to second on Adam Davis’ single to left. Then with two outs and Krisjon Segleski at the plate, Morrison raced home on a wild pitch for the tying run. After Segleski flied out to the pitcher, the game was called due to tournament time rules.

Morrison also went a full seven innings on the mound for Melissa (3-10-1), allowing one hit as his defense struggled through three errors.

“Brady was pitching his tail off,” Russell said. “There were two ground balls and we just don’t make the play. And they take the lead on the double-play we just can’t quite make. But we found a way to battle back and scratch. We just kind of ran out of time.”

Cody Jackson singled in the Cards’ first run in the second inning. Then, with one out, Jake Burrows grounded out to second, sending Trevor Brooks home from third to give Melissa a 2-0 lead.

Cards drop tourney-opener at Denison

DENISON — Whitewright’s Tigers downed Melissa, 8-4, on Thursday, March 9, in Grayson County Tournament action at Denison. Freshman pitcher Marshall Mangrum hurled a complete game for Whitewright as the Tigers’ offense put up four 2-run innings to keep the Cardinals at bay. The Tigers out-hit the Cards, 13-7, in this morning contest and played error-free ball as Melissa (3-10) suffered three costly miscues.

“We’ve got to play better defense, we’ve got to pitch better and we have to hit, situationally, better,” Cards head coach Jason Russell said. “We strung together some hits, but when we combine bad base-running with bad defense with not very good pitching, it’s what happens. … I think it was a combination of all those things. We get a chance to turn a double play, get a pitcher out of the inning, and we kick it. We’re just not playing up to our standards and up to our potential.”

Melissa starting pitcher Andrew Cole went three innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs with two strikeouts, before giving way to Krisjon Segleski for the final three frames. Segleski gave up six hits and three earned runs with one “K.” Adam Davis led Melissa hitters with a 2-for-3 performance — including a double — and 2 RBIs. Cole, Dalton Vestal, Trevor Brooks and Kyle Leonard all had hits for the Cards.

The win was Whitewright’s first of the season.

“We’ve been searching for a ‘W’ for a while,” Tigers head coach Jorge Rubio said. “We finally are starting to put things together. It’s great for us to start (the tournament) that way because we were itching to get going.”

Melissa struck first, with a run in their at-bat. After Cole slapped a single to right and stole second, David Crees came on as a courtesy-runner. Crees would score after tagging up on Davis’ deep fly ball to left. The Tigers (1-10-1) answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, with a dropped throw at second base allowing the go-ahead run.

Whitewright pushed its lead to 4-1 in the third after two scoreless turns at the plate for the Cards. First, the Tigers’ Seth Jackson reached base on a wild-pitch, dropped-third strike. A bobbled ball at shortstop then put runners at first and second with no one out. A ground-out moved the runners to second and third before Burke Hosier’s grounder brought home a run. Devlin Carraway’s single to left then scored the other runner.

Whitewright tacked on two more runs in the fourth to lead, 6-1, before Melissa responded in the fifth. Vestal opened the inning with a sharp single to right and soon stole second base. Two batters later, Brady Morrison was hit by a pitch and the Cards had two on with one out. Davis then singled to the shortstop to score Vestal and Morrison tagged and came home on a Jake Burrows fly ball to right. The Tigers got both runs back in the bottom of the sixth — stealing home for one and on a fielder’s choice single for the other — to all but seal the win at 8-3.

“I think pitching hasn’t been bad,” Russell said. “I just think we’ve just let them down a little bit, especially to our standards. Defense is something I thought was going to be a strength coming into the year and we haven’t played up to our potential. … We’ve thrown the ball well, and we’ve had some guys hit the ball well. Brady Morrison has done nothing but swing the bat really well all year. Adam Davis, he’s hit the ball real well all year.”

“We’ve just got to put it together,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of injuries, we’ve got a lot of people gone out of our lineup, so I think that’s kind of creeped into our head a little bit. But we’ll get them back and we’ll get them going.”

— Rick Atkinson