By Terry Cookston
MESQUITE — The Rockwall Yellowjacket baseball team was knocked from post-season play last week when North Mesquite used late-inning rallies to defeat the Jackets in a best-of-3 series for the Class 5A Area Championship.
After trailing 2-0 for six innings in Game 1 North Mesquite rallied for a 6-2 victory at Rockwall’s Campbell Complex. Third baseman Trevor Dickson blasted a two-run homer over the left-field fence to spark a six-run seventh inning.
Rockwall pitcher Cody Fields fired a no-hitter through four innings and allowed only two hits in six innings. But, the Skeeters tagged him for four hits, including Dickson’s homer, in the final inning before Rockwall changed pitchers with the bases loaded and one out.
Rockwall scored its two runs in the bottom of the first when an error off a deep fly ball by clean-up hitter Scooter Merritt scored Colin Elmore from third and a Travis Lites single brought home Merritt.
North pitcher Chris Roush, who had eight strikeouts, held Rockwall scoreless the rest of the game. He gave up only two hits, an RBI single to Lites in the first and a single to Elmore in the sixth.
In Game 2 North’s Andy Oberg singled to score Blair Johnson for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to break open a 2-2 tie after eight innings at Copeland Field in Mesquite.
Regulation play ended in a 1-1 deadlock. North scored on an RBI single in the bottom of the third and Rockwall answered in the top of the fourth with Brian Durst pounding a long fly ball to centerfield to score pinch runner Jared Butler from third.
The Jackets left five runners stranded in the first seven innings and two in the eighth.
Ty Lunday went a full seven innings on the mound for the second time in the playoffs. He pitched a four-hitter in Rockwall’s 10-4 second-game victory versus No. 5-ranked Plano East and left the North game with a five-hitter and eight strikeouts through seven.
The Jackets reclaimed the lead in the eighth on a Garrett Henderson single between third and short that scored Taylor Stetzer from third base, but couldn’t hold it.
Two Skeeter singles off Rockwall closer Butler brought in one run before two strikeouts sent the game to the ninth inning.
North relief pitcher Damien Magnifico shut out the Jackets in the ninth on three straight strikeouts and Oberg’s single that scored Johnson delivered the Class 5A Area Championship to the Skeeters.
Rockwall ended its season with a 20-14 overall record and the Class 5A Bi-District Championship.
By Terry Cookston