Pleasant Grove and Gilmer coaches were in their bag of tricks Thursday night at Hawk Field.
The Hawks’ Ryan Galvan and Gilmer’s Derrick McCellon were locked up in a scoreless pitcher’s duel until the bottom of the sixth. That’s when Pleasant Grove manufactured a run by pressuring the Buckeyes into their only error of the game, resulting in a 4-0 win for the Hawks.
Pleasant Grove (23-4) advances in the Region II-4A playoffs to the area round, where it will face Brownsboro or Farmersville.
Catcher Keaton Russo ignited the Hawks’ four-run sixth with a double. Seth Hopkins was hit by a pitch, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. McCellon struck out the next batter, but he reached safely when the ball bounced past the catcher.
Hawks’ baserunning was difference against Gilmer
The bases were now loaded, and Hopkins intentionally raced off second and fell down, drawing a throw from the catcher. That had Russo sprinting home, and a throwing error allowed him to score easily. Galvan made it 3-0 with a single to right, and pinch-runner Brayden Solida scored the final run on a wild pitch.
“You’ve definitely have to tip your hat to the Gilmer pitcher (McCellon),” said Pleasant Grove coach Riley Fincher. “I can’t say enough about our kids. They know the whole deal is to get on base and make something happen. We don’t look at it as taking chances. We look at it as playing the game the way we want to play it, and that’s attack, attack, attack.
“I tell our guys the first round of the playoffs is always the toughest. I’m just so thrilled the way the community showed up tonight. It was a fun atmosphere to play in, and I’m thankful and humbled.”
Nick Voyles relieved Galvan in the sixth and got the pitching win. Marshall Oubre pitched the seventh for the Hawks.
Fincher was also elated with the effort of third baseman Coe Blain, who was filling in for junior Ben Harmon. Blain made a spectacular diving catch in the seventh, and another earlier that resulted in a Gilmer doubleplay.
Tigers fall in deep hole early
ROYSE CITY, Texas – Whitehouse (21-9-1) put Texas High in a deep hole early with five runs, then survived late challenges to beat the Tigers in the first game of their 5A bi-district series, 7-3.
The Tigers (17-12) scored their first run in the fourth on a double by losing pitcher Michael Sikorski.
Texas High’s final two runs crossed the plate in the seventh. Jakob Hearne led off with a single, and Luke Smith drew a two-out walk. Hearne scored on a single by Chris Lyles, then Smith scored on a single by Rian Cellers.
The series continues Friday at 2 p.m. in Whitehouse. If Texas High win the second game, a third will follow approximately 30 minutes later.
Lady Tigers even series with Forney
PARIS, Texas – Texas High (20-11) avoided elimnation from the 5A softball playoffs Thursday by upsetting second-ranked Forney, 2-1.
The best-of-three series is to be decided Friday at Paris Chisum High School at 7 p.m.
Senior Lindsey Egger pitched a gem for Texas High. Trinity Cannon hit a home run for the Lady Jackets in the sixth. Forney slips to 30-3 on the season.
The Tigers when Ashanti Northcross walked, and Bailey Groom singled to center. Northcross scored on Lauren Allred’s grounder to first. Kylee Spriggs drove home the decisive run with the second of her two singles. Valeria Perez and Allred also had singles for THS.