Temple College was coming off a split of its conference doubleheader at Cisco, where the Leopards allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth in the finale Wednesday as the Wranglers rallied for the split.
That feeling fueled the Leopards in their rematch Saturday, when TC made sure there wouldn’t be any late dramatics. In fact, Temple ensured that the contests not only finished in its favor, but also ended early.
Seth Stephenson hit four home runs on the afternoon, Clark Henry provided game-ending at-bats to invoke the run-rule in both games, and Temple started Saturday’s Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference doubleheader with a 19-9 win and followed it with a 16-6 rout of Cisco in a pair of six-inning games at Danny Scott Sports Complex.
“Today was just a good day at the plate for all of us,” said Stephenson, who went 6-for-10 with six RBIs in the doubleheader. “(Cisco) beat us on a walk-off in the last game, so we were all still pretty mad about that.”
The Leopards (29-6, 12-4) expressed their frustration to the tune of 14 hits in Game 1 and 16 in Game 2. TC tallied 15 extra-base hits, including nine home runs. Along with Stephenson’s pair of homers in each game, Sammy Diaz, Cole Payne, Travis Chestnut and Henry all produced home runs.
“I’m just really proud of the way we played today,” said Henry, who finished 5-for-7 with six runs, including a two-run homer to conclude Game 1 and an RBI single to give TC the sweep. “We were pretty disappointed that we lost one in Cisco. Today, we just had the mindset that, ‘Hey, we’re just going to bang it.’”
Indeed the Leopards did.
In the opener, TC scored in every inning, including four runs in the third and five each in the fourth and fifth. Game 2 continued to bow in the Leopards’ favor as they put together an eight-run second and tacked on four in the third for a 13-2 lead entering the fourth. Six players drove in runs for TC in Game 1, and seven Leopards contributed to the RBI column in Game 2.
Payne went 3-for-5 with two home runs and six RBIs, and Belton product Dylan Blomquist finished 3-for-7 on the afternoon. Ty Tilson was 3-for-3 with a triple, two walks and a pair of RBIs, and Diaz scored two runs in Game 1. Chestnut homered, doubled and drove in five runs in Game 2.
The Leopards led 3-0 after two innings and 12-4 after four frames in Game 1. TC starting pitcher Ulises Quiroga (8-0) started strong and earned the win before being chased in the fifth. He allowed one hit through the first two innings before giving up three runs in the third. The Wranglers (25-11, 10-10) tagged Quiroga for five runs in the fifth, all coming with two outs. Diego Fernandez relieved Quiroga, who finished with seven strikeouts.
Cisco starter Sam Tollin lasted 2 1/3 innings and yielded five runs on five hits. Michael Barta (2-2) got the loss as one of five Wranglers relievers who saw action in Game 1.
Kolby Wilson (2-0) got the start and the win on the mound for TC in Game 2. He went 3 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. Diego Fernandez came out of the bullpen in both games for Temple, while Jace Walker and Mason Brandenberger also saw action during Game 2.
Allen Smith (2-2) took the loss for Cisco. Roberto Gonzalez finished 5-for-7 with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs on the day for the Wranglers.
“We were pretty confident coming into today that we could score some runs,” Henry said. “If we stuck to our game plan, we knew it would be a good day for us.”