Third-Ranked Pleasant Grove Escapes Chapel Hill + Advances to Area Round
KILGORE -- Third-ranked Pleasant Grove was dealt a stern test from Chapel Hill in their Class 4A bi-district playoff Friday night at Driller Park.
Connor Ouellette came through with a go-ahead sacrifice fly RBI in the sixth inning, and the Hawks stranded two Chapel Hill runners in the bottom of the seventh for a thrilling 3-2 win.
Pleasant Grove (20-4), champions of District 15-4A, will face the winner of the Wills Point-Crandall series next week in the area round of the playoffs.
Chapel Hill, which had to win a play-in game Monday night to even qualify for the postseason, ended its year at 9-15.
With the score tied, 2-2, Pleasant Grove's Caleb Bolden tripled with one out in the sixth inning. Chapel Hill center fielder Cole Williams attempted a diving catch on the sinking line drive, but the ball skipped past him, allowing Bolden to reach third.
Ouelette then sent a fly ball to medium right field where Jaylon Redwine recorded the second out before firing toward home plate in an attempt to gun down Bolden at the plate. However, the ball glanced off the Chapel Hill cut-off man's glove, and the Hawks grabbed their first lead.
Pleasant Grove had a chance to provide insurance in the seventh, but left the bases loaded.
Chapel Hill mounted a two-out rally in the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back singles by Zack Walters and Redwine. But Pleasant Grove pitcher Joe Pearlman retired Peyton Richardson on strikes to end the game.
Pearlman was fantastic in relief, working the game's final 4 2/3 innings for the win. He did not allow a run, surrendered just two hits, and stuck out four.
Richardson suffered the complete-game loss for Chapel Hill, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Chapel Hill scored the game's first run on Redwine's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first that scored Carson Epifano, who led off with a walk.
Pleasant Grove tied the game in the second when Bolden executed a squeeze bunt, which brought home Carson Cox, who reached base on an error to begin the frame.
But Chapel Hill came right back with a two-out RBI double from freshman Jaxon Heckel in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 Bulldogs lead.
The Hawks tied the game in the fourth when VaShon Williams drew a bases-loaded walk.
No. 3 Pleasant Grove 3, Chapel Hill 2
Class 4A Region II Bi-District Playoff
At Driller Park, Kilgore
Pleasant Grove 010 101 0 -- 3 7 2
Chapel Hill 110 000 0 -- 2 4 3
Pitchers and catchers
- Pleasant Grove: Caleb Bolden, Will Hlavinka (3), Joe Pearlman (3) and Mark Ashby
- Chapel Hill: Peyton Richardson and Zack Walters
WP -- Pearlman
LP -- Richardson
- Pleasant Grove: Jacob Smith
- Chapel Hill: Jaxon Heckel
- Pleasant Grove: Bolden