Pleasant Grove One Win Away from Sixth Consecutive Class 3A State Tournament with 4-2 Extra-Winning Win Over Melissa
[By Josh Richert, Special to ETSN.fm]
MOUNT PLEASANT — Pleasant Grove moved within one win of clinching its sixth consecutive Class 3A Region II championship and trip to the state tournament, but it took the Hawks extra innings to accomplish that feat.
Melissa erased a 1-0 Pleasant Grove lead with Camden Duzenack's two-run home run just inside the foul pole in the third inning, but the Hawks forced extra innings and scored twice in the eighth to take a 4-2 victory Thursday.
Game 2 of the Region II final series at Northeast Texas Community College's Eagle Field is 7 p.m. Friday. A third game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday should Melissa win Game 2.
Pleasant Grove left-hander Dalton Willige pitched a three-hitter and retired the side in order in six of the eight innings to earn the pitching win. Willige struck out five, walked two, and needed 108 pitches to go the distance.
Sophomore Jarod Bayless drove in three runs for the Hawks (26-12), including two on a line-drive single with two outs in the eighth inning.
The Cardinals (29-9-1) managed to get to Willige in the third inning with two hits, including Duzenack's 2-2 shot over the 25-foot wall that stands 309 feet away from the plate.
Melissa senior lefty Landon Wilson (10-1) suffered his first loss, pitching the seventh in relief of Cade Cruce.
Ty Harp and Bayless each went 2-for-4. Harp hustled for a leadoff double in the sixth inning and eventually scored the tying run on a double play.