Pleasant Grove Rolls Past Decatur in Game 1 of Regional Finals
TYLER — If two things have defined Pleasant Grove during this year's playoffs it's been dominant pitching and the propensity for big innings at the plate.
The Hawks certainly lived up to those expectations Wednesday night.
Pleasant Grove used a six-run second inning and 13 strikeouts from starting pitcher Caleb Bolden to roll past Decatur, 10-2, in Game 1 of their Class 4A Region II championship series Wednesday night at Mike Carter Field.
The fourth-ranked Hawks (34-3), still unbeaten in nine postseason games, will go for the sweep and the school's eighth state tournament appearance in 10 years when the series resumes Thursday in Tyler. Game 2 is scheduled for noon, with a third game to follow if necessary.
Prior to Wednesday's six-run outburst, Pleasant Grove erupted for a nine-run inning in its 9-0 series opening win over Canton in the regional quarterfinals. And in last week's series-clincher over Argyle, the Hawks put together consecutive four-spots in the sixth and seventh innings.
Pleasant Grove is averaging 7.5 runs in the playoffs.
The Hawks have also allowed two runs or fewer in seven consecutive games.
Bolden (14-1) pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs and four singles, before exiting with two on and none out after reaching the 110-pitch limit.
Pleasant Grove's Cade Thompson doubled and drove in two as part of a 3-for-3 night at the plate. Carson Cox doubled and drove in two, Will Hlavinka singled and had two RBI's, and Jackson Cobb finished with two hits and scored twice.
Decatur opted not to throw its ace Bryce Elder, who shut out Gilmer in last week's one-game playoff and has authored a pair of no-hitters in the playoffs.
Instead, the Eagles turned to Jaxon Terrell, who allowed seven runs on six hits in two-plus innings.
Terrell labored through the second inning, which featured 40 pitches and 10 Pleasant Grove hitters.
Hlavinka's one-out, two-run single got the scoring started. Bolden and Heath Ferguson followed with RBI singles before Cox's two-run double to left-center field increased the lead to 6-0.
Tyler Jeans came home on a wild pitch, and Thompson knocked in two with a single in Pleasant Grove's three-run third inning.
Wilson Hicks' infield RBI single in the sixth got Decatur on the board, but Keaton Russo drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning to push the Hawks' lead to 10-1.
Jeans, the next batter, had a chance to bring the 10-run mercy rule into effect, but his fly ball was tracked down by Decatur center fielder Alec Uselton at the wall to end the inning.
Uselton provided the final run of the night with a sacrifice fly that scored Tucker DuBois, who walked to lead off the seventh.
No. 4 Pleasant Grove 10, Decatur 2
Class 4A Region II Championship — Game 1
At Mike Carter Field, Tyler
Decatur 000 001 1 — 2 4 0
Pleasant Grove 063 001 x — 10 10 0
Pitchers and catchers
- Decatur: Jaxon Terrell, Trey Penny (3) and Dayne Chapman
- Pleasant Grove: Caleb Bolden, Matthew Gilley (7) and Keaton Russo
WP — Bolden
LP — Terrell
- Pleasant Grove: Cade Thompson, Russo.