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Keels, Sanders Help Lead Lewisville To Class A Baseball Title With Hard Fought 6-4 Win Over Lake View

Keels. Sanders Help Lead Lewisville To Class A Baseball Title With Hard Fought 6-4 Win Over Lake View  

By Billy G. Baker


Lake View—When your number 9 hitter, batting .178, comes up with three singles and a triple RBI for Lewisville against Lake View in the Class A baseball finals that saved the day for the Lion’s championship dreams in a 6-4 win, you just “thank” the baseball god and move on.

Such was the accomplishment of junior outfielder Quentin Sanders who no doubt has earned page one status in the Lewisville great moments of baseball folklore.

Head coach Billy Keels, who also won a state title at Lewisville in 2010, said this of Sanders feat. “Sanders was batting around .180 coming into today’s game and dang it if he didn’t go four-for-four today on the biggest stage of his life and he got the triple RBI in the 7th to help us win the game,” said Coach Keels. “I almost took him out of the line-up about five games ago but he is so athletic and such a competitor in football and basketball that I felt he just might come around. I am glad that I didn’t take him out of the line-up.”

No doubt Coach Keels will have lasting memories of diving on top of his son Trey on the dog pile of players and coaches near the mound after the state title was won on a humid afternoon many miles from home. “All I remember is that the game was over and I had just pitched for seven innings and everyone dog piled me near the mound and my Dad jumped on top of me and told me that he loved me and that was when the moment became really special for me,” said the younger Keels who went all seven innings in 90 degree heat giving up seven singles, one double, while striking out two and walking one with one hit batter. Keels is headed to Presbryterian College on a football scholarship.

“I can’t think of a better way to end my high school career,” said Keels. “I stayed focused and didn’t worry too much about the heat factor. Lake View battled us the whole game and this was a hard fought win for sure. It’s been really special to play for my Dad and I will never forget this game as long as I live.”

Sanders said he knew on the bus ride down from Lewisville, while the team was watching a movie about the South Carolina 2010 championship season, that he was ready to contribute more. “I felt like I had to step my game up and contribute more,” said Sanders. “I got some good looks and made some good cuts. On my triple in the 7th I just ran as fast I could after it left my bat and I knew it was going to score a run and that made me happy for the team.”  

Lake View was seeking to win its’ 11th state baseball title in school history. Lake View head coach Kip Herlong has now won seven state titles as the head coach and he has coached teams into 12 finals. “We don’t make any excuses at Lake View and these boys battled back and they are going to give you everything they have got and that is all you can ask of them,” said Coach Herlong. “This is why they are in the battle year-in and year-out whether it be football or baseball. If they were playing you in marbles they would battle you but the calls didn’t have anything with us winning or losing today.

“We didn’t get the big hit when we needed it there at the end,” said Coach Herlong. “We didn’t make the big play when we needed it and that is all a part of baseball. You make some plays and you don’t make others. It is a fine line between first and second place sometime.”

Coach Herlong was pleased with Collins pitching into the 7th inning before being relieved by lefty Jalik Roberts. “He was a little tired when he first took the mound and he has been our work horse this season and he has done a great job this season. We left some balls up and they capitalized on it but he made a lot of key plays to keep us in the ball game. This was a pressure situation and these young men battled and never quit and that is all you can ask for. Most everything is this game was earned by both teams and that is the way it is suppose to be.”

Lake View started seven seniors in catcher Stone Spivey, pitcher Nick Collins, Justin Elliott at first, Brent Herlong at shortstop, Darius Ford in left,  Duane Nichols in center, and Hunter Stevens in right. “This was a well played game between two schools with rich baseball traditions and it was neat to compete against them,” said Coach Herlong. “I was very proud of this team and they really kicked it in and played well over the past two weeks and now I am ready to let go of these seniors and let them become young men. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to coach them.”        

Lewisville loaded the bases in the first inning on a lead-off single by Chase Yoder, an intentional two out walk to Alex Reed and then Drew Colvin got hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, Braxton Elms flew out to center to end the scoring threat.

Lewisville took a 1-0 lead in the second as Jack Jordan reached on hit by pitch. Then Sanders got a single to right and made it to second on an errant throw back in from the outfield as Jordan advanced to third. Jordan came in for the Lions first score on a wild pitch.

Lake View went up 2-1 in the third as Darius Ford reached on hit by pitch and then Deante bridges doubled down the first base line to place runners at second and third with one out. Pitcher Nick Collins then hit a SAC Fly that brought Ford home to tie the score at one. Then Brent Herlong singled between short and third to bring in Bridges and make it 2-1.

In the Lewisville 4th the Lions pushed across a run to tie the game at two. Noland led off with a walk and Jordan laid down a perfect sac bunt to advance the runner, Then Sanders singled again to place runners at first at third. Yoder was hit by pitch to load the bases with one out. Keels hit a sacrifice fly that brought in Noland to tie the score.

Lewisville went up 4-2 in the 6th inning as Jordan led off with a single and stole second. He was brought in on a single by Garrison Hyatt to make it 3-2. Then Keels singled in Sanders to make it 4-2.

The Wild Gators showed their grit by plating two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Justin Elliott led off with a single and made it to third on a single by Hunter Stevens. A ground-out moved the runners to second and third and then Stone Spivey hit a Sac-fly that scored Elliott and then Jordan King singled in Stevens to tie the game at four.

In the top of the 7th Wild Gator starting pitcher Nick Collins retired the first two Lewisville batters and had a 0-2 count on Jordan. Jordan was hit by a pitch on his left elbow and the umpire awarded him first base. At this point Lake View head coach Kip Herlong asked for time and suggested to the umpire that the batter stuck his elbow out on purpose and was trying to get hit. After a two minute conference with all four officials Jordan was ruled a hit batter and he remained on first with Sanders coming to bat.  Sanders became the man of the hour with a triple to the deep right field corner scoring Jordan all the way from first and giving Lewisville a 4-3 edge. Two batters later Yoder reached on a throwing error that scored Sanders and provided for a two run cushion of victory.

“We finished 25-5 this season and three of losses came to either a team playing for the AAAA state championship or a team that played for the lower state AAAA championship so three of our five losses came to two really good teams,” said Coach Keels. “I am also very proud to have coached my son over the past four seasons and this was very special for me. I am very proud of the entire team.

“We have seven seniors on the team and five of them started today so we will miss all of them,” said Coach Keels.

The senior starting group consisted of Keels, Reed, Andrew Culp, Noland, Drew Colvin, Garrison Hyatt, along with Austin McCall and Mike Hill.         

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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