By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
ARLINGTON – At the home of the Texas Rangers, it was the Jesuit Rangers that used solid pitching and a big third inning at the plate to beat Highland Park 7-1 at Globe Life Park on Saturday.
The game highlighted the final day of the Scotland Yard Classic tournament, and also was the final tuneup for both teams prior to the start of district play on Tuesday.
The Scots (7-4) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jon Skidmore, a Baylor signee, scored on a wild pitch. But that was the lone run Jesuit starter Lorenzo Riddle and three other Ranger pitchers surrendered.
Jesuit’s bats came alive in the second, as Austin Sheahan led off with a single and advanced to third on a line-drive double to the center-field warning track by Texas commit Kyle Muller. Sheahan and Muller scored for Jesuit (10-1-2) to take a 2-1 lead after Angelo Wining’s single to shallow left field.
Because of inclement weather in recent weeks, both teams’ pre-district schedule was cut short.
“We usually like to play 20 games before district play starts,” said Jesuit head coach Brian Jones. “But we feel like we’re ready going in next week when district kicks off.”
Jesuit cushioned its lead in the top of the third after an RBI single by Sheahan scored Mark Ready. Zach Shepherd’s deep triple allowed Sheahan to score and the Rangers took a 5-1 lead when Shepherd scored on a passed ball.
“This was a very exciting day, playing at a major-league venue,” said Highland Park head coach Travis Yoder. “Although we only played 11 games because of all the cancellations before our district starts, we feel our senior leadership will push us through.”
The Scots threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning. After back-to-back singles and a walk, they loaded the bases with just one out. But Jesuit lefty Pete Hamrick kept his composure and struck out the next two batters to protect the 5-1 lead.
“This was an experience our kids will never forget,” Jones said. “We tried to get everyone involved, and I think we’ll be poised and ready to go when we open up our district.”
Highland Park opens District 10-6A play on Tuesday at North Mesquite, while Jesuit will start the 9-6A schedule by hosting Sunset.
“Coach Jones and I have known each other a long time,” Yoder said. “This was a memorable time for both teams, and we hope to see them again in the playoffs later in the year.”