The Van Alstyne Panthers got pushed to the limit by cellar-dwelling Lone Oak at Forrest Moore Park on April 4 before a seventh inning single by sophomore Rhett Gallagher put the cap on a 3-2 win.
Lone Oak pitcher Brett Kelley and Van Alstyne junior Jordan Velekei were hooked up in a mound duel, Velekei limited the visitors to just two hits in his six innings of work.
Kelley was keeping it close, scattering six hits over his seven innings on the bump, striking out nine, but taking a tough loss.
Van Alstyne took an early lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the third to light up the board.
Velekei singled to center field and was subbed out for courtesy runner Zach Wright. Wright moved up on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a Lone Oak error, and scored on another wild pitch by Kelley. After giving up a first inning double to Kelley, Velekei retired the next eight Lone Oak batters.
A walk to Kelley in the fourth, followed by the first Van Alstyne error in the last three games put runners at first and second.
Justin Hooten doubled to drive in Kelley and Stephen Singh, the runner who had reached on an error, advanced to third on the Hooten blast. Singh scored on a balk by Velekei, giving the Buffaloes a 2-1 lead.
That advantage was short-lived as the Panthers scored in the bottom half of the frame to deadlock the game at 2-2.
Junior Hunter Hutchison walked and came home on an RBI double by freshman Sam Tormos.
The Panthers had two on the the bottom of the fifth, but could not push a run across.
Junior Chase Wilson walked, advanced to second on a passed ball, then to third on a single by Gallagher.
Kelley got the third out, stranding the two Van Alstyne runners.
Velekei was on another pitching run after giving up the Lone Oak runs in the fourth, retiring 11 of the next 12 Buffs he faced.
Tormos came on the relief in the seventh and had a 1-2-3 inning.
Sophomore Chandler David singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh and, with two out, he moved to third on another Lone Oak error on a ball hit by Chase Wilson.
With rally caps on, Gallagher sent the fans home happy by lining a single to left, bringing home David with the deciding run.
Van Alstyne, now 5-2 in District 10-3A play, will travel to Whitewright on April 7.