Llano’s 140-pound catcher Kyle Tarter isn’t one to take anything off anybody.
The junior showed his spunk Friday night when he delivered the game-winning hit off Calvin Nutt in the bottom of the eighth inning to score two runs for a 9-8 victory for the Yellow Jackets over a solid St. Michaels squad.
Tarter’s line drive to right field scored Logan Bauer and Eli Tiffin in a bases-loaded one out situation.
“I had a job to do for my team,’’ Tarter said. “I was trying to hit a fly to right to score at least one.’’
The ball made it through and Bauer and Tiffin rounded the bases in full stride sending the team into a celebration against a team that had run-ruled them just in their last meeting in the Llano tournament.
“We’re playing more like a team this year,’’ Tarter said. “We keep our head up and battle to the end.’’
The Jackets were in trouble trailing, 7-3, through five and a half innings.
The team bounced back in the bottom of the sixth with four runs to tie the game. Outfielder Taylor Sorensen delivered the big blow on a 1-0 pitch with two out to drive in three runs to tie it.
Holden Simpson started the frame with a walk along with Jaden Bauman off had-throwing reliever Brett Cook. Cook lasted just two batters and couldn’t find the strike zone.
The Jackets Caleb Penny loaded the bases with another walk before a pair of strikeouts had St. Michaels positioned to get out of the jam. Tommy Yelvington, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, battled at the plate. The Jackets scored the first run of the frame on a wild pitch and then Yelvington eventually walk to load the bases again. That’s when Sorsensen stepped to the plate.
Sorensen and Ware both finished with two-hit outings and helped the team to seven hits for the game. St. Michael’s finished with 10 hits off four Jacket pitchers.
Ware got the win in relief going two innings, he gave up two hits and a walk for one run in the eighth inning.
The Jackets answered with the clutch hit in the bottom of the inning.
Llano’s Isaac Hutto almost ended the game in the seventh when a blast to center field bounded off the wall for a double with no one out. Hutto was left stranded after a pair of infield outs and a strikeout.
“I like having him (Tarter) up a lot,’’ Llano coach Stephen Campbell said. “He’s got baseball presence.’’
Campbell said the victory is huge because of the way they battled against a solid team.
St. Michaels is one of the better TAPPS Class 5A schools in the state and feature plenty of arms and sticks.
Simpson started as pitcher and allowed five hits through three and a third. Simpson provided some early spark with his bat, too. He hit a two-run homer in the first with just one out.
St. Michaels tied the game with a 2-run shot of its own.
Bauer pitched two innings before Hutto came in to pitch. St. Michaels pushed the lead to 7-3 in the sixth inning.
The Jackets will take on Lampasas in the District 8-3A opener on Tuesday at Llano.