Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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April 26, 2014

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Hornets sting

Athens thumps Brownsboro, 11-2

BROWNSBORO — The Athens Hornets took care of business in their final regular season game of the year on Thursday at Brownsboro on senior night.

AHS (21-7-1, 8-2) went into Brownsboro and swept the season series with an 11-2 win over the Bears.

“This kind of a ball game is going to come down to seven innings,” coach Dallas Robertson said. “You have the last district game against a very good team and I told them it would be a seven inning ball game.”

The Mabank Panthers (18-7, 8-2) went into Mineola and picked up a win over the Yellowjackets with a 10-5 victory on Thursday.

Athens and Mabank finished out the regular season as the Co-District 15-3A champions, the teams will play a tiebreaker game this morning at Grand Saline High School.

“I feel confident about what we can do,” Robertson said. “The boys are ready for it and all we can do is go out there and play hard Hornet ball.”

Athens and Mabank split the season series this year as both teams won on their home field.

Athens won the first meeting on March 25 with a 10-0 victory at Hornet Field.

In their final meeting of the season, the Panthers gained some revenge on the Hornets with an 11-9 win at Panthers Field.

This was the final home regular season game for seniors Tyler Thomison, Tanner Wilson, Ryan Covington and Mitchell Penny. Trainer Lynsee Jistel was also recognized before the game.

Athens senior Garrett Conley pitched his fourth straight contest and put together a strong night on the hill.

Conley picked up the win with a complete game five hitter. He gave up two runs — both earned — with three walks and eight strikeouts as he threw 100 pitches.

He also went 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. He had three extra base hits with doubles in the third, fifth and seventh innings.

With the game close heading into the seventh inning, the Hornets busted it open with eight runs off Bear pitchers Covington, Jake Connor and Casey Pelton.

“This game came down to whoever could make the least amount of mistakes,” Robertson said. “I am proud of how we got in there in the last inning. We were determined and we found a way to get some runs and that is what I was proud of.”

Robertson said even with the Hornets batting around in the seventh, the game belonged to Conley.

“The game was Garrett’s ball game,” Robertson said. “He has competed for us all year long and we have all of the confidence in the world in Garrett. He is a competitor and he did a heck of a job.”

In the seventh, AHS scored eight runs on five hits as 12 batters came to the plate.

The scoring barrage started with a single by Michael Canales, followed by a single from Conley to put runners on first and second.

Following a strikeout to Brandon Boyd, Travis Takata smacked an RBI-single up the middle for the 4-2 lead.

Adam Stallings then loaded the bases as he was hit by a pitch. Lance Funkhouser ripped a two RBI-single that scored Conley and Takata to put the game out of reach.

“They had been pressing themselves trying to do a tad too much and they need to see the ball and hit the ball,” Robertson said. “Once we relaxed and realized that we got to get some runs and it was close they took the challenge and did it.”

Conley wrapped up the scoring in the seventh with a  two-RBI double that hit the centerfield fence with two outs.

BHS third baseman Caleb Seale opened the game with an impressive dive on a line drive shot by Conley down the third base line. Seale was able to lung to his right and snag the ball to record the first out of the game.

Boyd then hit a single and Takata followed with a single of his own. Stallings then recorded an RBI groundout as Boyd beat out the throw home from first baseman Landon Mason for the 1-0 lead.

AHS added one more run in the fourth inning as Funkhouser scored on an error by the third baseman.

Brownsboro was able to tie the game in the fourth inning.

Thomison forced a walk to open the inning, Covington then roped a double to right field to put runners on second and third with no outs.

Mason drove in Thomison with a single and Austin Fout hit a sacrifice fly for the 2-2 tie.

Athens added their third run as Conley scored on an error by the second baseman.

Takata went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Funkhouser went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Boyd, Jesse Taylor, Daniel Mossberger and Canales recorded one hit each.

Covington, Penny, Seale, Wilson and Mason each recorded a hit for the Bears.

Covington recorded the loss as he went six innings, giving up five runs — three earned — with no walks and four strikeouts.   

Robertson said AHS has some areas they need to work on before the playoffs begin next week.

“There are a lot of things that we need to work on,” Robertson said. “At this point of the season, if you want to be a good playoff team you have got to get better in all areas of the game.”

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