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Mustangs split first two, set state record

The Isabella Mustangs got a playoff win and set a state record Friday in Game 2 of a first-round playoff doubleheader, defeating Reeltown High School, 18-7, in five innings.

Austin Anderson stole second base in the fifth inning to give his team 202 stolen bases on the year, surpassing the Greenville High School record of 201 from 2006.

Despite a laser of a three-run homer to left field by catcher Blake Lawley in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Mustangs dropped Game 1, 13-12, before they split the series.

In Game 2, Trent Wyatt belted a home run in the fifth inning to give IHS a 11-7 lead, and the hosts never looked back.

As the blistering sun finally set on the fields and the fans found a chance to breathe, Lawley knocked in Sean Haigler to get things rolling offensively in the second inning. Wyatt scored on a fielder’s choice RBI, and Lawley stole home on a throwing error. Haigler later hit a sacrifice fly to knock a runner in.

Lawley and Cody Smith scored on an Anderson infield single to give IHS a 6-0 lead. Anderson later scored on a wild pitch.

The Mustangs finished the fourth inning with six runs and a 10-0 lead before the Rebels made it interesting, scoring seven runs of their own in the same inning.

RHS’s Chase Chaffin scored on an error, Dane Ledbetter scored on a sacrifice fly and Hunter Boles reached home plate on a fielder’s choice to give Reeltown its first runs. The Rebels then stole home three times to cut the lead to four before Kyle Tanton roped an RBI triple to make it 10-7 heading into the fifth.

That’s when the Mustangs hit every pitch they saw.

After Wyatt’s long ball, winning pitcher Nick Noah drove in Anderson, and Adam Jones hit an RBI single to pad the lead to 13-7. Several other Mustangs, including Jones, Smith and Wyatt, touched the plate to give them their final runs and the victory.

IHS (19-19) plays RHS (18-12) Saturday at noon to decide whom advances to the next round.

Mustang coach Clay Shearer said he feels good about his team’s shot at making the next round, considering how well-rested some of his better pitchers are for Saturday’s game.

“If we make plays, throw strikes and hit the ball half as well as we did today, I think we’ll be all right,” Shearer said. “I’m very proud of this team and feel very blessed to be able to coach this group.”

In the dugout after the game, Shearer gave his players a message he hopes sits with them over night. He half-jokingly told them to resist the urge to bowl Friday night and just relax and watch a movie to rest up for a challenging contest ahead of them.

“I don’t want you guys to come here tomorrow thinking you’ve got the game won,” he said. “It’s going to be a dogfight. I’m proud of y’all.”