Van Alstyne 8, Commerce 1
Van Alstyne head coach Jimmy Haynes’ big task prior to the road trip to Commerce was a selling job on his team.
The Tigers were league doormats last season and Haynes’ biggest fear was that the Panthers would go in looking for another run-rule win.
It was anything but a breeze as the Tigers had a lot of early fight before falling, 8-1 to the visitors on March 31.
The Panthers outhit Commerce 10-2 and sophomore Tyler Wilson took advantage of scoring opportunities in his four plate appearances, collecting three hits while driving in five runs.
Senior Luke Hundt and junior Chase Wilson each had two hits in three trips to the plate.
Junior Rhett Gallagher pitched four innings, giving up those two Tiger hits, but no earned runs. He fanned five.
Sophomore Chandler David got the save, pitching three frames, striking out four, and he gave up no hits.
Van Alstyne turned to the small-ball approach in the first inning, parlaying a walk, stolen base and an RBI single to get on the board.
Chase Wilson walked to open the game and when that happens, second base is awaiting. Wilson swiped that bag and a Gallagher bunt moved Wilson to third.
Tyler Wilson collected his first RBI of the contest, going opposite field with a line drive to right that scored Chase Wilson.
Continuing that approach, freshman Sam Tormos singled to open the second and moved up on a wild pitch.
Junior Zach Wright put down a bunt that moved Tormos to third, but the Panthers could not drive him home, leaving the score, 1-0.
Commerce pitcher Nolan Myers was dealing as well, giving up just two hits and no runs over the next three innings, while striking out four.
Van Alstyne got the bats going in the fifth as Chase Wilson reached on a one-out, infield hit to start the run.
Gallagher singled to right field and a Commerce error allowed Wilson to score and sent Gallagher all the way to third, where he was replaced by courtesy runner Cam Montgomery.
Hundt walked and stole second base. Both he and Montgomery scored on another Tyler Wilson hit that bumped the Panther lead to 4-0.
After Commerce had come back, scoring one run in the bottom half of the fifth, Van Alstyne pulled away with a four-run effort in the seventh.
Chase Wilson had a leadoff double and Gallagher reached on an error by Myers that advanced Wilson to third.
Tyler Wilson doubled to drive in two more runs and a single to left field by junior Hunter Hutchison scored Tyler Wilson to give the Panthers the 8-1 lead.
David, who had come on in relief in the fifth, had an easy 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the seventh to wrap up the Panthers’ fourth district win against two losses.
This was Van Alstyne’s second consecutive error less game, after committing six miscues in the loss to Howe.
Van Alstyne opened the second half of league play, hosting Lone Oak on April 4, then travel to Whitewright on the April 7.