BELTON, Texas - St. Pius X head coach Adam Massiatte has led the Panther baseball team to the TAPPS Class 5A state championship game three times in the last five years, with titles in 2009 and 2012. On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, the defending state champions fell just short of their third title, however, falling to Argyle Liberty Christian, 6-1, at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
"We had the guys to do it, just a few things didn’t go our way," Massiatte said. "They’re a good hitting team. They played quality baseball and they executed some fundamentals. We’re going to reset it, learn from this experience and try to get back to this game next year."
As the visiting team, the Panthers struck first, with leadoff batter Luis Sanchez drawing a walk. He was sacrificed to second by Chase Fontana and stole third on the next pitch. Jerry Murillo’s single through the left side scored Sanchez and gave SPX a quick 1-0 lead.
Liberty Christian loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but a smooth 6-4-3 double play got the Panthers out of the jam.
In the bottom of the second, the Warriors loaded the bases again and this time scored on a balk to even the game at 1-1.
In their next at bat, a two-run double by Connor McMann and an RBI single through the right side gave LCS a 4-1 lead.
The Warriors added a run in the fourth with a sacrifice fly and scored again in the fifth on an infield groundout.
St. Pius X put two runners on in the fifth with two outs, but were unable to push them across.
Ben Little gave SPX fans hope of a rally in the sixth with a two-out single to center field, but he was thrown out on the play trying to stretch it to second.
"We didn’t get too many chances after that first inning to get back on it," Massiatte said. "We had a rough time getting a leadoff runner on, so that made it a little tougher for us to play the game we’re used to playing. It’s a learning experience for everybody, but the boys did a good job of trying to compete and do whatever they could for the team."
Making the TAPPS Class 5A All-Tournament Team were Kohl Stewart, Jerry Murillo, Sanchez and Joe Gerringer.
Playing in their final game were the seniors of the Class of 2013: Kenneth Danna, Gerringer, Ross Kiatta, Little, Damitri Morris, Stuart Peterson, Sanchez, Joel Segura, Stewart and Dylan Tarpey.
"They’re a good group of guys who really committed themselves to trying to be as good as they could," Massiate said. "They mean a lot to the program. They’ve been able to reinforce and validate the hard work to be able to get us back here."