Eighth-Ranked Hallsville Moves to 2-0 in 14-4A With 4-1 Win Over Rival Pine Tree
LONGVIEW — Hallsville sophomore pitcher Connor Reich wasn’t quite done.
After tossing a no-hitter in the Bobcats’ District 14-4A opener at Marshall on Tuesday, Reich wiggled out of a crucial bases-loaded jam in the fifth en route to an eight-out save in No. 8 Hallsville’s 4-1 win over rival Pine Tree on Friday night.
The win improved the Bobcats to 17-2 overall and 2-0 in district.
“That’s a big start,” said Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell. “Being in a district like this, every game is going to be just like that every night. To start out 2-0 is big for us because it’s a short race. There’s only 10 games in district this year where we’ve been playing 14 for the last 12 years. With 10 district ballgames, getting out of the gate quick is important. And that’s what I’ve been talking to our kids about, and they came out and performed tonight.”
With Hallsville clinging to a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Pine Tree (12-9, 1-1) loaded the bases with one out, which spelled the end of the night for starting pitcher Coby Weaver.
Reich took to the mound and struck out Pine Tree’s Nos. 4 and 5 hitters — Blake Adams and Chris Chadwick — to end the threat. He also stranded runners in the sixth and seventh.
“I really didn’t want to come with (Reich) that early, but he’s one of those young men that comes to me and says, ‘coach, I can go. I want it, I want it,’” Mitchell said. “He’s been my No. 1 since his freshman year. He’s a guy I have confidence in like I have confidence in all these guys. When you have a guy like him that wants the baseball, I have that much confidence in him. And he did a super job.”
Reich worked 2 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on just one hit with five strikeouts and two walks. Weaver, a left-handed sophomore, gave up an unearned run on two hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked five.
“I was proud of the way (Weaver) threw,” Mitchell said. “He kept us in the ballgame, and a couple crucial plays kinda turned the game.”
Chandler Minze suffered the loss for Pine Tree. He allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits in 6 2-3 innings with eight strikeouts and six walks.
Hallsville mounted a two-out, two-run rally in the top of the fifth to take a 3-0 lead. Jacob Walker walked before a Cole Anderson single. Walker then scored when the Pine Tree catcher’s attempted pickoff throw to first went into right field. Ronnie Gideon followed an RBI double off the wall in left-center field.
“Every game details matter, details are going to be what separates the win and a loss in a close district like this,” Mitchell said. “We had one error that may or may not have gotten us out of an inning without giving up a run. Their error hurt them on the throw, and kinda shook a little bit. And that’s what happens in these close ballgames. It can go against you or it can go for you. We were just fortunate tonight that it went in our favor.”
Pine Tree had chances to get back it after leaving the bases loaded in the fifth. But Reich struck out Jake Oden with runners at second and third to end the sixth, and Mason Liu was cut down at third on a fielder’s choice after drawing a leadoff walk and moving to second on a passed ball in the seventh.
“It’s good to come here and (beat) Pine Tree at their place, they’re a really good ball club,” Mitchell said.
Hallsville returns to action Tuesday at home against Sulphur Springs, while Pine Tree travels to Marshall.
District 14-4A Baseball
Pine Tree’s Field of Dreams, Longview
No. 8 Hallsville 4, Pine Tree 1
Hallsville 100 020 1 – 4 3 1
Pine Tree 000 010 0 – 1 3 1
HAL: Coby Weaver, Connor Reich (5) and Colton Oberthier. PT: Chandler Minze, Andrew Lee (7) and Blake Adams.
WP — Weaver.
LP — Minze.
S — Reich.
2B — HAL: Ronnie Gideon.