KILGORE -- Entering Thursday night's opener of the Class 2A Region III championship series, Harleton and Beckville had combined for an overall record of 53-3, which figured to lend itself to a competitive matchup.

That storyline took a sharp left turn as Harleton roughed up the Bearcats, 14-0 in five innings, in Game 1 from Driller Park. The win pushed Harleton (27-2) one win from its first UIL state baseball tournament berth since 2005.

The series resumes with Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday back in Kilgore with a third game, if necessary, to directly follow.

After two scoreless innings, Harleton took advantage of a two-out Beckville (27-2) error by plating four unearned runs in the top of the third. The Wildcats put up six more runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to put Harleton in the driver's seat of the series.

Harleton's Ted Fuller drops down a bunt during the Wildcats' 14-0 Game 1 win over Beckville on Thursday night in Kilgore. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Harleton ace Will Davis ran his record to 12-1 with five shutout innings. The sophomore right-hander struck out eight, walked two, and allowed just one hit for the complete-game victory.

Levi Pilkington was 3-for-4 with four RBIs to pace Harleton at the plate. Cody Fregia walked, was hit by pitches twice, and scored three runs, Joe Earle reached base three times and scored twice, while Jacob Earle smacked a two-run double in four trips to the plate.

Beckville lefty Braden Wise (4-1), who got the Game 1 start instead of staff ace Ethan Harris, suffered his first loss of the season after working the game's first three-plus innings.

With the bases loaded and two outs in a scoreless game in the top of the third, Jacob Earle hit a grounder to the Beckville shortstop, whose throw skipped past the first baseman, allowing the first two runs of the game to score.

Pilkington followed with a two-run single on the very next pitch for a 4-0 Harleton advantage.

Wise did not retire a batter in the fourth after the first six Harleton batters of the inning reached base. Mason Goode delivered an RBI single, Fregia was hit by a pitch with the bases full, Pilkington knocked in another with a base hit, and Davis collected a sacrifice fly RBI in the six-run frame.

Harleton played add-on in the fifth by scoring four runs on four hits, the big blows being Jacob Earle's two-RBI double and Pilkington's third consecutive run-producing single.

Harleton's Will Davis struck out eight and allowed just one hit in five shutout innings, helping the Wildcats to a Game 1 win over Beckville on Thursday night in Kilgore. (Mark Martin, ETSN.fm)

Class 2A Region III Championship

Game 1 -- At Kilgore's Driller Park

Harleton 14, Beckville 0 (5 innings)

Harleton             004    64    --    14    9    1
Beckville            000    00    --      0    1    2

Pitchers and catchers
  • Harleton: Will Davis and Jacob Earle
  • Beckville: Braden Wise, Jake Tondreau (4), Cal Walton (5) and Ben Bridges

 

  • WP -- Davis (12-1)
  • LP -- Wise (4-1)

 

Doubles
  • Harleton: Jacob Earle