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Stewart earns redemption

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Thomas Stewart bounces back with a decisive sacrifice fly; it caps a dramatic 5-4 victory for the 'Stangs over Grandview.
Over four days and eight innings, Thomas Stewart encountered some of the lessons and ups and downs that baseball has to offer.

And he’s convinced he’s the better for it.

The past Saturday, the freshman couldn’t protect a four-run lead in the top of the seventh inning against Legacy. In relief, the right-hander gave up seven runs, six unearned, in taking his first schoolboy loss.

And on an extremely windy Tuesday, Stewart found himself at home plate with the winning run at third base and one out in the bottom of the seventh. He delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly to center field to provide the difference and cap a four-run rally in a dramatic 5-4 victory over Grandview at Bill Swift Field in a Centennial League opener.

“Baseball is absolutely nuts,” said Stewart, who also has pledged to play for the University of Virginia.

Openly upset after Saturday’s loss, Stewart was riding high on a Tuesday in which he played two positions on a cold late afternoon that also had winds strong enough to blow caps off pitchers’ heads and dislodge at least three screens along the outfield fence.

“Coming back from that crazy game on Saturday,” Stewart said, “I was very distraught, I still am … I just wanted to score the run any way I could.”

After a couple of walks and base hits to open the bottom of the seventh, including a key, run-scoring single by Trevor Moore, Grandview helped Mullen with a passed ball and an error. Following a short fly ball to left field, Stewart got one deep enough to center to decide it.

“It was a great league opener,” Stewart said, “and a great team win.”

Mustangs head coach Phil Stanford said “it very well could be” a defining victory for his Mustangs who also received a strong starting-pitching performance by Owen Marsh and a combined four hits by Andrew and Ryan Brady. Sage Hurley also had two hits and drove in a run.

Mullen (6-2) will meet Grandview again on Thursday, April 7, 4:15 p.m., in Aurora as the league’s home-and-away schedule is under way.

Grandview  001  002 1  --  4  5  3

Mullen 000  100  4  --  5  7  1

Grandview – Klaess 2b 4-0-1-1, Chapman rf 3-1-1-0, Marshall 3b-p 4-0-1-0, VanWormer 1b 2-1-0-0, Dahr cf 1-0-0-0, Ruilo dh 3-0-0-0, Smock lf 2-0-0-0, Yi c 1-1-1-0, Crow ss 1-0-0-0, Biaggi p 0-0-0-0, Klaess p 0-0-0-0. Lis p 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-4-5-2.

Mullen – MacKenzie cf 4-0-0-0, T. Stewart 1b 3b 3-0-0-1, A. Brady 3b-ss 3-0-2-0, Marsh p 2-0-0-0, Riley-Combs cr-ph 1-1-0-0, R. Brady c 3-0-2-0, Hurley ss 3-1-2-1, Gamueda rf 2-1-0-0, Jackson lf-cr 2-1-0-0, Moore ph 1-0-1-1, Krieger 2b 2-0-0-0, Fuentes p 0-0-0-0, Pax 3b 0-0-0-0, Trujillo cr 0-1-0-0, Shellhorn p 0-0-0-0 Totals 26-5-7-3.

E – Crow, Chapman, R. Brady, Dahr. DP – Grandview. SAC – Crow, Yi. SB – Dahr 2. CS – Chapman 2. LOB – Grandview 5, Mullen 5.

2B – A. Brady 2, R. Brady.

Pitching – Biaggi, Klaess (7), Lis (7) and Yi; Marsh, Shellhorn (6), Fuentes (7) and R. Brady. W – Fuentes. L – Klaess. WP – Marsh 2, Lis, Fuentes. PB – R. Brady 2, Yi. HBP – Crow (by Shellhorn). SF – T. Stewart. T – 2:31.