It was quite the game in the second contest of the 2022 3A state tournament that featured 10th ranked West Delaware and fourth ranked Independence. It was a scoring frenzy that provided plenty of action including 15 runs, 17 hits, and even four triples. The game was as fun to watch as any first round game could be and also housed seven runs driven in with two outs.
The back and forth battle began in favor of the visiting team in Independence. The Mustangs poked across five runs within the first three innings of action. Meanwhile defensively, Independence held the Hawks off the scoreboard with just a few hits through the first three innings of action.
From there on however, it was score, score, score. In fact, ten of the 15 total runs came in the fourth inning or later. For West Delaware, they held the majority of that, sporting all seven of their runs between the fourth and sixth innings. In the later half of the game, the Hawks were the more opportunistic team, scoring six of their seven runs with two outs. Of those six hits for the Hawks, all six came with runners on and four of those came with runners in scoring position. The inning that really made this a game and brought it out of the 5-0 shadows was the fourth inning as the Hawks posted four runs.
Overall, there wasn’t a lead beyond a few runs past the fourth inning and for the Mustangs, despite the flurry of activity from the Hawks, never gave up a lead. The closest West Delaware came was tying the game up at 6-6 after the fifth inning. Both teams peppered the base paths all game long and that included three triples from West Delaware and one from Independence.
Overall, the Mustangs came away with the win with their nine hits while being issued seven walks across their 30 at-bats. Both teams left eight runners on base but what helped Independence in the win was going 13-of-22 in advancement opportunities. It was an overall showing of putting the pressure on. Independence had just two innings where they didn’t put runners on base and they ended up with four bases loaded opportunities, converting on one of them. They may have been 2-for-10 batting with two outs but they did pull through with a 5-for-6 mark with runners on third and less than two out.
Ultimately, the Mustangs came away with the victory and captured their first opening round win since 1996, which interestingly enough sent the program to their first (and only) state title game in program history.
Next up will see Independence battle third-ranked Assumption on Wednesday.