MONROE — Kael Skipper's walkoff double with one away in the bottom of the seventh sent River Oaks to a 3-2 victory over Prairie View in the MAIS District 5-2A opener for both teams Monday night.
The three-game series concludes Thursday with a 4 p.m. double header in Bastrop.
Prairie View will doubtless lament a series of missed opportunities after stranding a dozen base runners.
In a nutshell, the Spartans will look back on the top of the first.
Prairie View's first five batters reached safely.
Gage Riles walked, took second on a passed ball and advanced to third on Jacob Farrar's base hit to center. Riles stole home with the first run of the game when Farrar got into a rundown between first and second. Tyler Peters then reached on an error and Luke Denman and Mason Rogers drew consecutive full-count walks to force Farrar across with the second run of the inning and still nobody out.
It would have seemed hard to believe at the time, but the Spartans had scored their final run. River Oaks starter Chandler Smith regrouped to punchout the next three batters and prevent what could have been a disastrous inning.
Smith ran his pitch count to 41 in the top of the first. His counterpart, Mason Rogers, fared only slightly better in the home half of the 34-pitch frame.
Brandon Dorsey singled to left and Sam Conti and Samuel Anderson drew one-out walks to fill the bases with one out. A strikeout later, the lefty-swinging Skipper took a a 2-2 pitch off the front calf to bring the Mustangs within 2-1 as the 45-minute inning drew to a close.
Prairie View also left the bases loaded in the third and Riles was stranded in scoring position in the second and fourth.
For their part, the Mustangs left nine runners aboard, including two in the third and fifth.
River Oaks was able to scratch the tying run across in the fifth without a hit. Dorsey walked, was sacrificed into scoring position on Conti's bunt and crossed home with the equalizer when Alexander reached on an error.
River Oaks reliever Cole Ramer pitched out of threats in the sixth and seventh.
Caleb Christmas walked, Sully Edwards sacrificed and Riles singled to put runners at the corners with one out in the sixth. Riles advanced to second on a passed ball, but Ramer got out of the inning with a punchout and a groundout to second baseman Bradley Black.
Prairie View wasted a leadoff single by Denman and a one-out walk by Connor Ouellette in the seventh.
On to the bottom of the seventh, Alexander was awarded first base on catcher's interference and Smith drew a free pass to place runners at first and second with one out. Skipper then unloaded a double to straight-away center field, driving in Alexander with the game-winning run.
Ramer struck out four, walked two and gave up two hits through three scoreless innings to post the win. Smith allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits over four innings. He struck out nine while pitching around six bases on balls.
Skipper went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs and was twice hit by pitches to pace the Mustangs. Cody Tindall and Dorsey added base hits.
Prairie View (1-5) matched the Mustangs with four hits. Riles went 2-for-3 and reached base in all four plate appearances. Also contributing base hits were Jacob Farrar and Denman.
Farrar was dealt the loss in relief of Rogers.