WACO - Senior right-hander Kohl Stewart allowed only three hits and struck out nine to lead St. Pius X to a 5-1 win over St. Thomas in the TAPPS Class 5A state baseball semifinal on Monday.
The Panthers advance to the state title game for the second straight season and are in search of their third title in five years.
As the visiting team, St. Pius X got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning. Stuart Peterson led off with a double and moved to third on a balk. A single by Luis Sanchez scored Peterson for a 1-0 SPX lead. Sanchez stole second, and Chase Fontana singled and moved to second on the throw to put two runners in scoring position. Jerry Murillo’s sacrifice fly scored one and Stewart knocked in another with a groundout for a 3-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth, St. Thomas got one run back with a two-out, RBI single up the middle by Jordan Bautista-Rosales.
St. Pius X answered in their next at bat as Peterson led off with single and moved to second with a stolen base. Fontana singled to left with and Stewart was intentionally walked with two outs to load the bases. Ben Little then came through with a two-RBI single to give the Panthers a 5-1 cushion going into the bottom of the seventh.
Stewart picked up his fifth win of the season to move to 5-1 with his complete game performance.
SPX plays Argyle Liberty Christian for the state title on Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. The game is played at UMHB in Belton, Texas.