By SCOTT HARP
Special to the Register
The North Central Texas College baseball team played in the Northeast Texas Community College tournament this past weekend and had a strong showing.
They lost their first game to Eastern Oklahoma which halted their five game winning streak. The Lions lost in the bottom of the tenth inning by the score of 10-9. They rebounded in the second game beating No. 25 ranked Navarro College by the score of 5-3. The split gives them a 12-3 record on the year.
In Friday’s game against Eastern Oklahoma, the Lions once again got off to a great start by scoring six runs in the first two innings. The Lions got four hits and one walk to score five runs in the first. Jake Arrington had a two-run single during the inning. Nick Ochoa's RBI ground-out in the second inning plated Bryant Lopez. Eastern got back two in the bottom of the inning to make the score 6-2.
In the fourth, Lopez singled, stole second, and scored on Zach Ragsdale's single to left. Eastern got back in the game in the fifth inning. They went on to score four runs on the Lions' bullpen.
In the seventh, Ryan Morgan led off with a double and scored on Garrett Harris' single to left. With a one-run lead, Eastern plated two in the bottom of the inning to tie the score. NCTC took the lead in the eighth when Lopez walked and later scored on a wild pitch. The lead was shortlived with Eastern tying it in the bottom of the eighth.
In the 10th, the Lions would eventually lose when a base hit to right scored the winning run just inches in front of the tag applied by Lions' catcher Riley Keith.
Starter Brett Abell left the game in the fifth with the lead after giving up two runs on four hits and six strikeouts in his four innings of work.
After a heartbreaking loss in game one, the Lions showed great resilience from the start of game two. The Lions responded with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Bryant Lopez singled to lead off the game and moved to third on Matt Nilo's double to left. After a Zach Ragsdale walk to load the bases, Nick Ochoa delivered a two-run single to center.
Navarro took the lead after scoring three runs in the third and fourth, but the Lions responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Jake Arrington singled followed by a Ryan Morgan double put the Lions into scoring position. With two outs, Lopez singled to right to give the Lions a lead they would never lose. They added one in the eighth with a lead off walk to Arrington who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Daniel Sciantarelli.
Starter John Neely delivered another strong outing. He finished with six innings which is the longest outing by a Lions' pitcher this year. He gave up three runs (one earned) on five hits and five strikeouts to pick up his second win of the year. Garrett Laird and Payden Bravenec made sure Neely's outing would not be wasted. The tandem combined for three innings of relief allowing only one baserunner while delivering four strikeouts. It was Laird's first hold of the year and Bravenec's third save of the year.
Bryant Lopez led the offense with four hits, five runs scored and two walks. Zach Ragsdale and Ryan Morgan also had four hits with Ragsdale adding two doubles and Morgan had three. Nick Ochoa led with four RBIs.
The Lions will host Cedar Valley a doubleheader today starting at noon.
By SCOTT HARP