Chris Mooney led the Houston Tigers to victory in the team’s district opener and got his senior teammates to graduation just in time.
Mooney had a pair of hits and struck out eight batters in Houston’s 4-2 victory Saturday afternoon in the Class 3 District 10 tournament.
The Tigers will face No. 2 Rogersville, a 7-1 winner Saturday against Willow Springs, on Monday at Ava.
Inclement weather moved the game to Houston, where the game was scheduled to begin at noon but did not begin until 1 p.m. as the field was worked over.
With graduation scheduled for 4 p.m. just a few hundred feet away at the football field, Mooney was strong on the mound in a quick game that lasted less than two hours. That left enough time for seniors David Weybright, David Foster and Caleb Smith to make the ceremony – with their baseball uniforms underneath their gowns.
Weybright scored a pair of runs for Houston. Kyle Poynter had a run-scoring double in the first, and J.R. Knetzer singled home an insurance run with a bloop single in the sixth.
Liberty’s James Sharp doubled off the left-field wall to start game and scored on a groundout to make it 1-0. But Houston immediately answered.
Weybright singled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on Mooney’s double. Two batters later, Poynter doubled home Mooney to give the Tigers the lead for good.
Weybright reached on a strikeout when the ball eluded the catcher to lead off the third. He moved to third base on Mooney’s hit-and-run single through the right side and scored on a double play groundout.
Liberty trimmed the lead to 3-2 with a two-out RBI triple in the top of the sixth, but Knetzer’s bloop single in the bottom of the inning brought home Smith.