TYLER – Junior pitcher Dylan Moore improved to 16-0, leading the Hughes Springs Mustangs to a 2-0 win over Palmer on Thursday in Game 1 of their Class 2A Region II championship series at Irwin Field.

Moore’s complete-game, three-hit shutout helped the Mustangs get within one game of advancing to the UIL Class 2A state tournament at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

“We knew that he would come through for us tonight,” Hughes Springs coach Kent Craig said of Moore’s performance. “His pitch count was down, he had a couple of quick innings, but that’s what you expect from a kid who’s only lost two games in his high school career.”

Hughes Springs' Chad McKinney takes a swing against Palmer during Game 1 of their Class 2A Region II championship series Thursday at UT Tyler's Irwin Field. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

It was a pitcher's duel early on as Moore and Palmer's Aaron Hunter (13-5) combined four strikeouts and one hit through three innings.

The fourth inning was a different story. Hughes Springs had four hits in the inning, one of which was Chad McKinney's tie-breaking RBI single to center to score Cody Hawkins.

“They’re a good team,” Craig said of Palmer. “They’ve played from behind before, they lost to Mount Vernon in Game 1 and came back to win. By no means are we making reservations in Round Rock. We still know we have some baseball to play, and they're a real good baseball team.”

After Palmer got its first two batters on base in the top of the fifth, Moore and Hughes Springs got out of the inning without allowing a run, and added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.

Palmer got two more men on base in the seventh, but Moore got a flyout to shallow right-center to end the game.

“We’ve been talking about getting to state since we were eight years old,” Moore said. “We’ve got a great No. 2 pitcher who’s going to do his job, and if I need to come in I’ll be ready to.”

Moore ended the game with five strikeouts while, Hawkins went 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and one run scored.

Game 2 is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Irwin Field, with a third game to follow if necessary.

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Hughes Springs 2, Palmer 0

Class 2A Region II Final
Game 1

UT Tyler's Irwin Field

Hughes Springs      000    110    0    --    2    8    0
Palmer                   000    000    0    --    0    3    0

Hughes Springs: Dylan Moore and Chad McKinney. Palmer: Aaron Hunter, Isaac Lopez and Ryan Conger.

WP – Moore (16-0).
LP – Hunter (13-5).

2B -- Hughes Springs: Cody Hawkins.

RecordsHughes Springs: 34-1. Palmer: 31-7.

Hughes Springs' Josh Anton and Chad McKinney celebrate during the Mustangs' 2-0 win over Palmer in Game 1 of their Class 2A Region II championship series Thursday at UT Tyler's Irwin Field. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)