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Heath blasts Hillcrest 16-3, 13-0; advance in playoffs to Sweet 16

By Keith Thompson and J.J. Smith. SUNNYVALE – The Heath Hawks baseball team had plenty of time to reflect on their offensive woes displayed in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Hillcrest Panthers in game one of the third round quarterfinals of the state 4A baseball playoffs.

The Hawks had to endure a scheduled off day Thursday and then sit by helplessly while Friday’s game on their home field was rained out. By the time they got back onto the field for a 1 pm game two at Sunnyvale High School, the Hawks were more than ready to let out some pent up hitting frustrations.

By the time the dust had settled a few hours later, not only had the Hawks (34-6-1) won both games to advance to the Region II semi-finals, they did so in dominant fashion. Heath followed up a 16-3 shellacking of the Panthers (32-7-1) in the Saturday opener with a 13-0 trouncing in the nightcap. Both  games were shortened due to the 10-run mercy rule used after five innings by Texas high schools.

Jake Baxter took the mound in game three in a “win or go home” game for both squads. Baxter was more than ready for the task as he tossed a five- inning shutout, allowing only two hits and facing one batter over the minimum. He struck out three and walked one.
Both Baxter, and game two winner Jovan Hernandez, were beneficiaries of a scalding hot Hawk offense that combined for 29 runs, 18 hits (including two grand slams), and 17 walks for the day. Hillcrest ran out a plethora of pitchers, including their ace, Paul Peters, but none of them were safe from the Hawk arsenal.
Heath had a multitude of offensive heroes:  Austin Stewart, hitting leadoff, finished the day for 5-8 with a 2b and six runs scored. Grayson Lewis was very productive out of the nine hole with a 4-7 day and five runs scored. Nick Peterson tripled and added two singles. Bret Boswell broke open game three with a two-run double. Jovan Hernandez ended game one with a grand-slam home run and added a two-bagger in the clincher.
Jake Thompson kick-started the scoring for the day with a long grand-slam home run over the scoreboard in left center field on the first pitch in the first game. Thompson ended the day 2-2 with seven walks, including six consecutive walks after his grand slam. By day’s end, the Panthers were completely battered and shell-shocked.
The Hawks now move on the the Sweet 16 against the Waxahachie Indians (27-11), which beat Hallsville (26-9) twice, 4-2 and 10-0, to advance in the playoffs.
Game one is at Heath High School Thurday at 7:30 pm. Game two is at Richards Park in Waxahachie Saturday at 1 pm. If necessary, game three will take place thirty minutes after the second game.
If Heath beats Waxahachie, they will then play the winner of the Mesquite Poteet (29-6) vs. Frisco Wakeland series for the Area Region II championship.
Wakeland eliminated Heath rival and District 10-4A co-champion Highland Park (32-6) Saturday by beating the Scots in the third game of their series, 8-6. Poteet swept Texarkana Texas (25-8) in two games.

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