Local baseball teams close out regular season
April 24, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Heading into the weekend, several area teams have their postseason plans locked in. For others, a lot is riding on their regular season finales.
The Pirates - which broke into the txhighschoolbaseball.com poll this week at No. 19 – will close out the regular season with a share of the District 14-4A title already locked in. A win over Mount Pleasant on Friday would give the Pirates sole possession of the district for the first time since 2001, according to Pine Tree Athletic Director Derek Fitzhenry.
Hallsville – which is ranked No. 24 in the newest poll – will close out the regular season against Texas High. A Bobcat win, coupled with a Pine Tree loss, will knot the 14-4A foes at the top of the standings. The two split the regular season series, 1-1, with Hallsville winning 4-1 in March at Pine Tree and the Pirates evening the series with a 9-7 win in Hallsville on April 12.
Pine Tree (19-10, 7-2) enters Friday's contest in Mount Pleasant riding a seven-game win streak, sparked by a 5-3 win over the Tigers on April 5 at home.
The senior trio of Spencer Anderson, Mason Liu and Jake Oden are pacing the Pirates at the plate, batting .500, .421 and .366, respectively. The three have accounted for 150 of the Pirates' runs this season.
Chander Minze, Blake Adams and John Cravey all boast sub-3.00 earned run averages for PineTree, with Cravey leading the way with 51 strikeouts in 44 innings of work.
Fresh off handing 16-3A champion Gilmer its first district loss of the season, Spring Hill will host Bullard – currently second in the district at 8-3 – at 7 p.m. tonight with big playoff implications on the line.
A Spring Hill (currently 7-4 in 16-3A) win will knot both teams in a tie for second in the standings. A Kilgore win over Gilmer and a Spring Hill loss would tie the Bulldogs and Panthers for the third playoff spot out of the district.
Bullard beat Spring Hill, 7-6, in their first meeting at Panther Field.
Seniors Matt Williams and Ben Hollas lead the way offensively for Spring Hill, which has won four of their last six games. Williams is batting .455 in 66 at bats with 15 RBIs. Hollas is batting .440 in 75 trips to the plate with a team-high 27 runs scored and 10 doubles.
Nathan Methvin boasts a 4-1 record off the hill for the Panthers with an ERA sitting at 2.03 in 38 innings of work. The junior has struck out 36 and is holding opponents to a paltry .145 batting average.
The Lobos close out their 2013 regular season campaign on the road for a showdown with 12-5A No. 2 Rockwall. Longview is sitting in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the district with North Mesquite, which takes on a 3-8 Mesquite Horn team to close out the season.
If both teams win or both lose, Longview and North Mesquite will have a playoff game with a postseason berth on the line. The two split their regular season meetings with Longview taking an 8-7 win in March and the Stallions taking the second meeting, 4-1, on April 16.
Dez Chumley – who set the Lobos' single-season record for triples with his seventh of the year – leads with Lobos with a .400 batting average. Tre Allen is hitting .387 on the year with 18 RBIs. Reid Russell leads the Lobos in RBIs with 27 to accompany a team-high seven home runs.
Spencer Barton enters the contest at 6-2 on the season off the mound with a 2.46 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 48.1 innings.
<em>(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)</em>