Sherman can't close out McKinney North

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Sherman second baseman Landon Gutierrez fields a ground ball during the Bearcats' loss against McKinney North in 10-5A play.

The start to district play for the Sherman Bearcats has put scrutiny on the way they finish.

For the second straight game the Cats held a lead in the sixth inning but were unable to close out a win.

Prosper Rock Hill pulled off the comeback in the 10-5A opener and McKinney North was the latest as the Bulldogs scored four times in the final two frames, including breaking a tie with three in the top of the seventh for a 5-2 victory over Sherman in the first game at the Bearcats' new on-field campus.

"I think it shows our youth right now. It shows we're trying to find our niche," Sherman head coach Chris Anderson said. "For a lot of them the game sped up on them. Sometimes you have to experience it and feel it before you can fix it."

Drake Dodder singled and drove in both runs while Tate Bethel singled and walked and Connor Clark walked twice and scored for Sherman (7-8, 0-2), which plays at rival Denison on Tuesday night.

Justin Healer was 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and scored, Ryan Walls tripled, drove in a run and scored and Jonas Ceballos retired eight of the nine batters he faced, four by strikeout, to pick up the win in relief for McKinney North (9-3, 2-0), which joins The Colony as the only undefeated teams left after the first week of 10-5A play.

"This district is going to be a lot of teams beating up on each other," Anderson said. "There's going to be a whole lot of splits. We're in a place right now where we have to win when we play Rock Hill and go to North to split."

The Bulldogs scored the deciding runs when Healer laced a two-run triple to right-center.

Jackson Jones opened the seventh with a double to the left-field corner but was erased trying to advance on a sacrifice. Cameron Bonds followed with a hit up the middle and then Healer put North ahead with his triple.

A shallow fly to right for the second out led to a run when Luke Young’s throw went into foul territory on the first-base side, allowing Healer to score.

Sherman went in order in the seventh and the only runner on base after the fifth was a one-out walk by Landen Brand, who was stranded at first.

North had tied the game in the sixth, pushing a run across after the Bulldogs had left runners in scoring position each of the previous two innings.

Logan Loney singled to right and went to second when catcher Brandon Fine’s pickoff throw went into foul territory and then was on third after a groundout. With the infield in, Desmond Squalls grounded to Clark at short and he mishandled it, allowing Loney to score.

Bethel got a strikeout and pop-out to keep the game deadlocked.

The Bearcats had a chance to add to their slim lead in the fifth before coming up empty against Casey Workman, who only allowed two hits but walked four in four and two-thirds innings. Young had a one-out single to center, Clark had a two-out walk and they were in scoring position after a double steal.

North went with Ceballos to face Bethel, who hit a one-hopper to first to end the inning.

Sherman took the lead in the fourth on a two-out, two-run single up the middle by Dodder.

Clark and Bethel walked to open the inning but Bethel was thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch.

Dylan Fine followed with a walk and then stole second before Brand struck out.

Dodder worked a long at-bat before his hit put the Bearcats up 2-1.

Bethel wriggled out of trouble in the fourth when the Bulldogs loaded the bases. Healer and Loney singled before being sacrificed over. Squalls hit a fly to right that was too shallow to tag up on before Dylan Rogers was hit by a pitch.

The game remained a one-run margin when Bethel struck out Gavin Constantine to end the threat.

McKinney North got on the board in the top of the third. Rogers started the inning with a comebacker off Bethel’s left leg for an infield single.

Bethel shook it off and got the force on the ensuing sacrifice bunt before Walls tripled to right-center with two outs and Constantine scored all the way from first.

The Bulldogs’ lone base runner in the first two frames was Bonds walk in the first but he was caught stealing for the second out.

Sherman had a pair of base runners through three innings. Bethel reached on an infield single to short, took second on the wild throw and moved to third on a wild pitch but was stranded to end the first inning.

In the third, Logan Williams worked a two-out walk but was then picked off to end that frame.

District 10-5A

McKinney North                5

Sherman                           2