Hallsville Rolls Past Pine Tree to Clinch 14-4A’s No. 1 Seed in Baseball Playoffs
KILGORE -- Hallsville entered the season as the prohibitive favorite win District 14-4A. The Bobcats showed why Monday night.
Hallsville put together a four-run first inning and five-run third in its 13-3, five-inning win over Pine Tree at Driller Park, which clinched the district's No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
"I think the pressure was off a little bit, knowing that we had made the playoffs and we knew we were able to share a piece of the district championship with Pine Tree," said Hallsville coach Scott Mitchell. "I think that gave us a little second wind. I just think they came focused."
The Bobcats (24-5), which split their two regular-season meetings with Pine Tree (19-12), will face Royse City later this week in a Class 4A Region II bi-district playoff series. Game 1 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Royse City. The series resumes with Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday in Hallsville with a third game, if necessary, to follow.
Pine Tree opens the playoffs against Lucas Lovejoy. Series details are to be determined.
"The difference was obviously they hit the ball real well ... it's called baseball," said Pine Tree coach Lance Standley. "They got going and they made a play (here or there) and we kept bleeding."
Hallsville's offense was relentless with all but one starter reaching base at least once. Logan Bailey led the way, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. Austin Blakeley homered and drove in two, Connor Reich had three hits and two RBIs, Andy Guinea was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Jacob Walker had three hits and drove in a run and Ronnie Gideon reached base four times and scored four runs.
"We had that capability, especially early in the year we did that kind of stuff," Mitchell said of his offensive production. "When we got into district, the pitching got better. But tonight was a good venue, and I think the kids kinda felt the energy and felt the electricity, came out and played well. I was proud of the way they swung the bats."
Sophomore lefty Coby Weaver the beneficiary. The Hallsville pitcher allowed three runs on six hits and stuck out three in four innings to earn the win.
Pine Tree's Spencer Anderson reached base three times -- twice on walks -- and scored twice in the losing effort. Chris Chadwick had two hits, while Mason Liu and Blake Adams drove in runs for the Pirates.
Anderson scored on a passed ball with two outs in the first inning, giving Pine Tree a brief 1-0 lead.
Hallsville responded with four two-out runs in the bottom half of the inning after Bailey's two-run double to the left-center field gap and Blakeley's two-run shot over the wall in left.
"That was really a key to kinda jump-start our offense because at that time there were two outs and Logan came up with a big, two-run double and Blakeley followed it with a two-run home run," Mitchell said. "With two outs, to produce like that, that was huge. That set the tone and kinda got us going after giving up a run in the top of the first."
Pine Tree cut the deficit to 4-3 in the top of the third on Liu's RBI single to center and Adams' sacrifice fly to center.
The Bobcats put the game out reach in the bottom half of the inning by scoring five runs. Blakely, Guinea and Walker collected RBIs as Hallsville sent nine batters to the plate against Pine Tree starter Chandler Minze.
Hallsville played add-on with two runs in both the fourth and fifth. Bailey's second RBI double and Guinea's RBI single made it 11-3 in the fourth, while Reich's two-run double to left-center brought the 10-run mercy rule into effect in the fifth.
Hallsville 13, Pine Tree 3 (5 innings)
District 14-4A Playoff
Driller Park, Kilgore
Pine Tree 102 00 -- 2 6 3
Hallsville 405 22 -- 13 13 1
Pine Tree: Chandler Minze, Chris Chadwick (4), Trevor Thomas (5) and Blake Adams. Hallsville: Coby Weaver, Austin Blakeley (5) and Colton Oberthier.
WP -- Weaver.
LP -- Minze.
2B -- Pine Tree: Thomas, Chadwick. Hallsville: Jacob Walker, Connor Reich, Logan Bailey (2).
HR -- Hallsville: Blakeley (first inning, one on).
Records -- Pine Tree: 19-12. Hallsville: 24-5.