Pleasant Grove wins game 1 over Eagles

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, May 31, 2017
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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Decatur knew going into the first game of their regional final series against Texarkana Pleasant Grove Wednesday night in Tyler they had to stay away from giving up the big inning.

But the Hawks batted around in the bottom of the second inning, scoring six times to take command of the game early in route to a 10-2 victory.

After giving up a leadoff double to Hawks catcher Keaton Russo, Decatur starting pitcher Jaxon Terrell got a groundout for the first out. But after a hit batter and a passed ball, runners were at second and third when Hawks first baseman Will Hlevinka singled to right to make it 2-0.

Terrell looked like he might escape the second inning without giving up any more damage after getting Jackson Cobb to ground out, but a walk and three consecutive hits made the score 6-0 before he struck out Russo to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Terrell walked the leadoff batter before turning the ball over to Trey Penny. After getting Hawks third baseman Connor Ovellette to fly out to right for the first out, Penny hit Hlevinka. A bunt single loaded the bases. After a run scored on a passed ball, Cade Thompson singled to center to score two more runs and put Pleasant Grove up 9-0. A caught stealing and strikeout ended the inning.

Decatur coach Brian Tickell said he was impressed with Penny’s performance.

“Trey Penny came in and I thought he did a really good job trying to shut the door on them, keeping us in the game. That second inning was tough for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hawks starting pitcher Caleb Bolden was in a groove. At one point in the fourth and fifth inning, he struck out five consecutive Decatur batters.

“That guy’s hard to hit off of,” Tickell said of Bolden. “He’s a really good pitcher and pounds the zone and throws hard, and we haven’t seen anything like that this year. I thought we did a good job battling at the plate.”

Bolden had given up only one hit in the first five innings before Decatur was get on the scoreboard in the sixth. Right fielder Tyler Ticknor led off with a base hit to center and moved to second with one out on a wild pitch. After moving to third on a long flyball out to the left field corner, he was able to score on an infield hit by Wilson Hicks.

Penny found himself in trouble in the bottom of the sixth when a bloop hit, double and a walk loaded the bases with no outs for Pleasant Grove. He was able to respond with back-to-back strikeouts. But a walk forced in the Hawks’ 10th run.

It could have been more if not for a nice catch center fielder Alec Uselton made as he sprinted toward the wall for the final out.

Decatur was able to get the first two men on base in the top of the seventh as Bolden reached his pitch limit and came out of the game. Jaxsyn Fletcher, running for Tyler Dubois who had walked to begin the inning, scored on a sacrifice fly by Uselton to plate the Eagles’ second run.

Ticknor popped out to the third baseman to end the game.

Tickell said the task will be tough again in game 2 at noon Thursday with Pleasant Grove’s number two starter.

“Their number 2 is almost as electric as their number 1, so we are going to have to really compete at the plate and just keep them from squaring balls up and getting guys in scoring position and then getting them in,” he said.

That task will fall to Bryce Elder who will get the start in game 2.

“He’s been our guy all year long, and I likeĀ  him in this situation,” Tickell said.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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