FARMERSVILLE — The Van Alstyne Panthers used a bit of small ball to push across the deciding run in the seventh inning of a 4-3 victory against Farmersville in District 10-3A action on Tuesday, April 10, and the win provided some separation from the pack as the Panthers try to chase down Leonard for the top spot in the standings.


Van Alstyne (11-6, 7-2) is a half-game back of Leonard but now two games ahead of Howe, Whitewright and Farmersville (8-11, 4-4). The victory over the Farmers exacted a bit of revenge after losing the first match-up, 10-9, in eight innings.


This time the Panthers were able to come through in the late innings. Chase Wilson, who was 2-for-4 and scored twice, led off the seventh with a single to right and then stole second. With one out, Scott Taylor bunted and on the play Wilson was able to score and give Van Alstyne the one-run lead.


The Panthers missed a chance to get some insurance after Zane Madison was hit by a pitch and courtesy runner Cam Montgomery pulled off a double steal with Taylor. Hunter Hutchison grounded back to the pitcher and Taylor was out on the fielder’s choice for the second out.


Rhett Gallagher, who earned the win with three innings of hitless relief, worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning by notching his sixth strikeout to seal the victory. Jordan Velekei did not allow an earned run in four innings, giving up two hits and walking to against six strikeouts.


Van Alstyne tied the game at three in the fourth with a two-out rally. Tyler Neshyba, who was 2-for-3, singled to right and Samuel Tormos doubled to left to plate Montgomery, who was courtesy running.


The Farmers had taken a 3-2 advantage on the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI single after an error extended the inning.


Farmersville tied the game at two in the bottom of the second with two outs. A steal of home followed by an RBI infield single pulled the Farmers even.


Van Alstyne jumped right to the lead with a pair of runs in the first inning. After an out, Wilson doubled to right and Gallagher singled to put runners at the corners. Velekei hit a sacrifice fly to left and then the Panthers loaded the bases, allowing Gallagher to score on a steal of home.