An inning later, he hung on to catch a fly ball as he collided with the left fielder to end a bases-loaded threat. Ballesteros stayed on the ground for a while, before being helped up. He remained in the game.
"I'll put my life on the linefor these guys," Ballesteros said. "They'd do the same for me. That's what we practice. That's what we preach. And here we are now."
In the first inning, Salpointe lost standout center fielder Ian Ponce, when he collided with the right fielder to try to make a play on a ball that wound up a triple. Ponce had to come out and didn't return.
"He was one of our guys for four years," Ballesteros said. "For him to go down in the first inning, it's a heartbreaker. But we did this for him."
Salpointe got a great outing from left-hander Jaeden Swanberg, who left after Mesquite's first batter in the seventh reached, and Salpointe was holding onto a 4-1 lead. Swanberg gave up just five hits.
McGee came on and hit the first batter he faced. He walked the next to load the bases. He then got Davis Heller to hit into a fielder's choice that scored a run. Jayden Orozco's sacrifice fly cut it to 4-3.
McGee struck out Jacob Henderson to end it.
"I know they're going to play defense behind me, so that's never going to be a problem," McGee said.
Mesquite (27-6) got a great effort, as usual, from left-hander T.J. Clarkson, but his pitch count got up and he had to come out after 4 2/3 innings with Salpointe leading 2-1. Clarkson struck out 12.
A wild pitch by reliever Henderson gave second-seed Salpointe (26-6) a 3-1 lead. The Lancers tacked on another run in the top of the seventh on pinch-hitter Nomar Basurto's triple and Jose Cornejo's bloop single.
Cornejo gave Salpointe a 2-1 lead in the third on a two-out, two-run single.
"I'm speechless," coach Danny Preble said. "One of our leaders goes down in the first. Then we have another collision with our shortstop. But these kids don't quit."