Roadrunners Sweep Panola to Make Region XIV Tournament

CARTHAGE – It turns out the Angelina College Roadrunners didn't need any help from AC's Math Division.

The 'Runners took care of business all by themselves.

Ditching all need for tie breakers and other mathematical equations, the Roadrunners capped an improbable week that featured six wins in six days, sweeping Panola Saturday 5-1 and 5-2 in Carthage to nail down the fourth seed in the upcoming Region XIV tournament.

"To be honest, I'm a little shell-shocked," AC head coach Jeff Livin said. "Considering it looked as if we were out of contention a little over a week ago, and to see what these guys accomplished in the span of a few days is just amazing."

Ryan Gunhouse drove in four of AC's five runs in the opener, blasting a solo homer in the fourth inning, singling home a run in the fifth and doubling home two more in the seventh. His hitting heroics backed a second straight superb pitching performance by freshman Taylor Holt, who held the Ponies scoreless for 6 2/3 innings before giving up an RBI single to Panola's Evan Mistich in the seventh. Nick Wright came on to get the final out for the Roadrunners.

In the nightcap, Grant Clyde and Gunhouse went back-to-back with solo homers in the fourth inning after Greg Garcia and Todd Wallace drove in runs in the second in the 5-2 win. D.D. Lott picked up the win on the mound despite fighting his way through a painful blister.

"If you look at these past six games, we scored runs and played solid defense, but each of those games were predicated on good pitching," Livin said. "Taylor and Chase (Greening) earned some big wins, but they were both really good with their stuff. You can't say enough about John (Tatum) and D.D. for the way they battled despite not having their best stuff the past two outings. That took guts."

Lott finished with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work, giving way to Lance Wheeler in the fifth.

"D.D. had that blister on his foot early, and it had the guys in the dugout pretty much gagging, it was that bad," Livin said. "For him to gut it out that way and keep us in the game says a lot about how badly he wanted to win."

AC's tournament hopes also rode on the outcome of the Navarro vs. Paris doubleheader in Corsicana – a twinbill swept by the Bulldogs, eliminating the Dragons and ensuring the Roadrunners would play again after Saturday's regular-season finale.

"We had a lot of work to do to get this done, and it certainly wasn't easy," Livin said. "But all of us talked earlier in the week about these last few games meaning our playoff lives. If we wanted to keep playing, we'd have to keep winning.

"I guess the guys weren't ready to quit playing."

The Roadrunners will await the tournament seedings expected to be announced later this week.