DUBLIN — The Early Longhorns squandered a three-run lead in regulation and a one-run advantage in the top of the ninth inning as they fell to the Dublin Lions, 7-6, Thursday night to end their hopes of a District 6-3A baseball championship.
Five errors and 10 walks haunted Early (15-10, 6-3), which with a victory would have faced Comanche (16-7, 8-1) at 5 p.m. today for the 6-3A title. Now, the playoff-bound Longhorns can finish no better than second place but could drop to fourth depending on today’s results.
Knotted at 5 in the top of the ninth inning, Ryan Hill’s RBI bases-loaded walk scored Tristan Horton with the go-ahead run. With one out in the ninth, Horton and Trace Evans drew consecutive walks, then C.J. Hanley reached on a two-out infield single to load the bases. Hill drew the free pass that gave the Longhorns the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, however, a leadoff double, dropped third strike, error, single and bases-loaded walk generated two runs and the victory for Dublin (9-10, 5-4).
In a game that was slated for Tuesday but postponed due to wet field conditions, Early jumped in front of Dublin 2-0 in the top of the first inning. The Longhorns stretched their advantage to 4-1 in the third, were in front 5-2 after five innings and led 5-3 through six.
Offensively, the Longhorns produced 13 hits. Evans went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Horton finished 3-for-4 with four runs scored and Keilers chipped in a 2-for-5 effort with three RBIs. Hill contributed one hit and a pair of RBIs, Hanley singled twice and Kylar Mercer tripled.
On the mound, Hanley took the loss in relief, allowing three runs — one earned — on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings. Christian Alcorta started and worked five innings, yielding three runs — one earned — on a single and five walks with three strikeouts. Horton pitched an inning and gave up a run on three walks with three strikeouts.
In the top of the first, Horton and Evans both singled with two outs, then Keilers followed with a two-RBI single to left to push the Longhorns in front, 2-0.
After Dublin cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second, Early answered with two more runs in the third.
Again with two outs, Horton and Evans reached on singles. Keliers followed with an RBI infield single, then Hanley reached on a base hit ahead of an RBI single to left field by Hill.
The Longhorns tacked on their fifth run in the fifth inning as Horton reached on an error to start the frame, then scored on an RBI double by Evans.