ROUND ROCK, Texas (KETK) – With the 3A state semifinal tied at three in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday, Malakoff senior outfielder Brandon Nations seized the moment.
With runners on first and second, Nations hit a walk-off RBI single to center scoring Bryson Adair for a Tigers 4-3 triumph over Gunter.
It set off a wild celebration on the field as Nations was mobbed by his teammates.
“In the 7th inning I just wanted to stay through the ball, find a hole and make something happen. It’s the biggest thing I could ever ask for, been dreaming of it since I was a kid. Now I can do it with my best friends,” said Nations who has signed with Incarnate Word.
The win sends Malakoff to its first state title game. The fifth-ranked Tigers will play No. 3-ranked Corpus Christi London for the 3A championship Saturday at 9:00 a.m. back at Dell Diamond.
Nations accounted for all four runs batted in for Malakoff as he went three-for-four at the plate with a double and a two-run homer. His long ball in the third was his eighth of the year, and it was 406-foot blast into the Tigers bullpen.
For Malakoff head coach John Adair, who is hanging it up after 37 years of coaching, taking Malakoff to the brink of its first championship is a very gratifying moment.
“Even though I’m retiring I told them when I came over I’m establishing a program this isn’t a two years and done deal this is something we want to start and have it carry over and I think it’s going to happen I mean getting here and doing that makes people excited about the game of baseball,” said Adair.
Tigers senior pitcher Alan Benhardt threw five strong innings, only allowing one run, while striking out eight.
Senior Wes Hustead, who pitched the final two innings and did not surrender a run, earned the win.
Watch the video to see our coverage from Round Rock including highlights and reaction from the Tigers.