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Hawks bounce back in game two of 4A regional baseball finals, 10-3

By Keith Thompson. DUNCANVILLE – Pushed to the brink of elimination for the fourth time this post-season, the Heath Hawks put together a team effort in drubbing the Poteet Pirates last night, 10-3, in game two of the Region II 4A finals at Panther Field. Game three is slated for tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks were a focused bunch after Thursday’s disappointing 2-0 loss, a game which saw them out hit the opposition and one in which Heath pitcher Jovan Hernandez threw a two-hitter. However, the Hawks made a couple of huge base running mistakes and repeatedly left other runners stranded in scoring position. Friday night was different.

It appeared it may be a pitcher’s duel early on as Heath’s Jake Thompson and Poteet’s Blake Griffin matched two scoreless innings to open the game.  Heath broke through first as they strung together four consecutive hits to open the bottom of the third. Bret Boswell and Jake Thompson opened things up with singles and Jovan Hernandez got the Hawks on the board with an RBI single to right center. Designated hitter Jake Bledsoe then ripped a two-run double to the left centerfield gap to make the score 3-0.

Poteet immediately struck back in the top of the fourth inning. Tyler Franklin belted a solo homer to make the score 3-1. The Pirates then scraped together two more runs by having the good fortune of two different Texas Leaguers drop just in front of hard-charging Heath outfielders. They would be the last Poeteet runs to score as Thompson, fighting through some lower back spasms, shut them out the remainder of the way.

The Hawks bats were just getting warmed up. They immediately gave Thompson a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the inning with the lead run scoring on Austin Stewart’s RBI single.  A slight controversy developed in the top of the fifth inning when, after drawing a two-out walk to put runners on first and second, Pirate Ryan Taylor was called out for using an illegal bat. This snuffed the last Pirate scoring opportunity. Heath was aware the bat was illegal as they saw Taylor using it the previous week against Frisco Wakeland. Hawk coaches waited until Taylor reached base safely in the series to launch their protest having printed copies of the approved bat list on hand to show the umpires. The umpires simply enforced the rules.

There was no controversy about the Heath bats other than the fact they may have been too hot. Every Hawk in the starting line-up generated at least one hit, as Heath chased Griffin with three more runs in the fifth. Reliever Beau Nowell was also touched for three runs in the bottom of the sixth. When the dust settled, Heath had amassed 13 hits, including doubles by Jake Bledsoe, Austin Stewart and Nick Peterson.  Even with Jake Thompson not quite as dominant as normal on the mound, the 10 run barrage was more then he would need to secure his 12th victory of the season. He ended up with seven strikeouts in his complete game effort.

Expect a battle tonight as both teams will lay it all on the line in attempting to get to the Final Four. Hawks loyalists were in this same spot one year ago but they have expectations of a much different outcome this year.

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