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MCC finishes off 3-game sweep to win Region V tournament



ABILENE, TX — Stormy weather forced McLennan Community College to give up its home-field advantage, but nothing could shake the Highlanders’ will to win the Region V tournament.

A last-minute switch from Bosque River Ballpark to Abilene Christian University didn’t faze the Highlanders as they romped to a 10-4 win over Temple College on Monday to finish off a three-game sweep in the North bracket of the tournament.

“The move was frustrating to have to make because obviously we would have liked to stay home to play,” said MCC coach Mitch Thompson. “But with the weather we had to move, and I thought the guys handled it great.”

The Highlanders (40-16) will host the Region V Super Regional beginning Friday against West bracket winner Cisco College. The winner of the best-of-three weekend series will earn a spot in the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.

MCC reached the championship game with Saturday’s 8-7 win over Temple. After relocating to Abilene for Sunday’s 12-3 win over Midland College, the Leopards (39-16) needed to beat MCC twice Monday to win the tournament.

But the Highlanders erupted for 12 hits, including three by leadoff hitter Miguel Santos, who went seven for 13 in the tournament.

“The thing I liked about it is we’re getting production up and down the lineup,” Thompson said. “We got big hits from Jaylen Williams and Izzy Lopez in the eighth and ninth spots. Miguel Santos continued to hit well in the leadoff spot. We’re getting one quality at-bat after another and we’re continuing to put pressure on the defense.”

Backed with tremendous run support, Will Carsten (9-1) kept Temple off-balance as he scattered eight hits, one walk and three runs in 7.1 innings in a strong starting performance for the Highlanders.

“Will was really dialed in,” Thompson said. “He’s a super competitive, athletic kid. He threw all three of his pitches for strikes. With the wind blowing in 10 to 15 mph, there was no fear of giving up big plays, and he went right at them.”

MCC took command with a four-run second inning against Temple’s Nathan Medrano (8-5).

Mason Greer opened with a single and scored on Dominic Tamez’s double. After Hank Bard drew a walk, Williams ripped a two-run double down the third-base line. Alex Lopez brought in the fourth run with a single.

The Leopards broke through for a run in the third when Andre Jackson tripled and scored on Seth Stephenson’s infield single.

But the Highlanders tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning against reliever Marcus Mott. After Mott hit Tamez with a pitch and Lopez walked, Bard hit a run-scoring single up the middle. Lopez gave MCC a 6-1 lead when he scored on a passed ball.

MCC pushed across two more runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Santos led off the eighth with a triple and scored on Blake Johnson’s infield single. Johnson scored the Highlanders’ final run on a passed ball.