The Athens Review
The scoreless streak may have ended but the Athens Hornets walked out of Hornet Field Friday night with an undefeated first half of district play.
The Hornets survived a late inning rally by the Brownsboro Bears for an 8-4 win behind a tough pitching performance from senior Garrett Conley.
This was the final game for the first round of district play for both schools.
Athens (18-5-1, 5-0 in District 15-3A play) will return to Hornet Field Tuesday night for the middle game of a three-game homestand against the Canton Eagles.
First pitch for the game is set for 6:30 p.m.
Brownsboro dropped to 9-12 on the year and 2-3 in district play.
They will return to the field on Tuesday night when they travel to Mabank for a 6:30 p.m. start.
Following his first start since being named the Class 3A Pitcher of the Week by Texas High School Baseball, Conley threw 100 pitches in a 6 2/3 pitching performance.
He allowed four runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts and one walk in the win.
Josh Darden came on in relief for the final out as he got Caleb Seale to flyout on the first pitch to Allen Jones to end the game.
Bears starter Casey Pelton took the loss on the mound as he allowed eight runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and three walks in five innings of work.
Tyler Thomison came on in relief as he gave up no hits on only nine pitches in the sixth inning.
The turning point in the game came in the fifth inning as Pelton allowed six runs with two outs during a 40-pitching inning for the Bears.
The Hornets started the rally as Jack Amheiser led off with a strikeout, followed by Conley reaching on a single on the first pitch.
Conley was then thrown out on a fielder’s choice by Brandon Boyd.
Pelton would then intentionally walk Travis Takata, while Adam Stallings singled to load the bases.
With the bases load, Lance Funkhouser forced Pelton into a walk that scored Boyd.
Jesse Taylor then drove in Takata to give Athens a 4-1 lead.
On the throw home, courtesy runner Jeremy Bateman came home before Darden hit a hard shot to third base that scored Funkhouser from third.
Taylor would later score on an error by the shortstop before Taylor scored on another error by the second baseman for the 8-1 lead.
With the Bears needing runs in the top of the seventh inning, they cut into the Athens lead scoring three runs on a double to the left field wall by Ryan Covington that scored Weston Weber from second for the 8-2 deficit.
The Bears then picked up a run as Covington scored on an error by the second baseman, followed by their final run on a single by Austin Fout for the 8-4 finale.
Earlier in the game, Athens had a 22-inning scoreless streak snapped in the first inning after shutting out Van, Mabank and Mineola in their last three outings.
Brownsboro was able to pick up the games opening run as Cody Dodds worked Conley for seven pitches to reach base on a single.
He was able to reach second on a wild pitch and following a groundout by Thomison, scored on an RBI single by Covington for the 1-0 lead.
The game would remain that way until the bottom of the third inning when Athens scored two runs off of Pelton to take the lead.
Leading off the third inning, Daniel Mossberger was able to reach base on a hard single to center field, followed by a single from Jack Amheiser to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Conley then reached on a fielder’s choice as Athens was able to put runners on the corners with one out.
Boyd then hit a ground ball to short as Amheiser came in to score to tie the game at 1-1.
Conley was able to reach third on a passed ball on the next at-bat. Takata then smacked a line drive single to centerfield to bring home Conley for the 2-1 lead.
The Hornets would then control the remainder of the game until the seventh as the defense allowed no more than six batters to the plate in any inning.
Athens was led at the plate by Takata — as he finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored.
Conley finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Stallings, Taylor and Amheiser each went 1-for-3 for the Hornets. Taylor also had an RBI in the game.
The Hornets also had hits from Darden and Mossberger in the win.
They also recorded four stolen bases in the game, while allowing no stolen bases. Seale was thrown out by Brandon Boyd in the second inning for their only attempt.
For Brownsboro, they were led by Dodds, Fout and Caleb Seale. The trio each went 2-for-3 at the plate in the loss.
Fout also reached base as he was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.
Covington finished up 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored for the Bears. Landon Mason went 1-for-4 with a run scored.