The Hallsville Indians baseball team played their final regular season home game the afternoon of May 7 in what Indians Head Coach Barry Koeneke, said could be a preview of a district tournament matchup. The Indians hosted their rivals to the north, the Centralia Panthers and beat the 4-3 in seven innings.
Each team scored a run in the first inning and the Indians added solo runs in the next two frames to take a 3-1 lead that continued until the seventh inning.
Hallsville’s starting pitcher, Tanner Beatty, held the Panthers at bay after giving up three hits and the earned run in the 1st. Over the middle five innings, Beatty allowed only two hits and a hit batter, and dodged two consecutive, infield errors in the 6th to hold serve. But in the 7th, Beatty walked the lead-off Centralia batter, Kaiden Davenport, followed by a Jared Holiman clean single, putting the tying runs on base. The Panthers executed the sacrifice bunt perfectly with a Dawson Kirtley tap to the right side and the runners moved up to scoring position. The number three hitter in Centralia’s order, Will Rolfson, was snuffed out by a called third strike for out number two. A cautious walk to DH, Caden Vanskike loaded the bases setting the stage for a costly error when Centralia’s Brett Jones grounded Beatty’s one-one pitch to shortstop, Alex Wimer, probably the surest glove on the Hallsville defense. But, alas, the ball glanced off his glove and on into left field allowing the tying runs to score. Beatty had reached his pitch-limit which brought on the Indians’ Brandon Vincent to hold the scoreboard at a 3-3 tie. Vincent induced a flyout to left for out number three giving Hallsville a chance to win with a single run in the bottom of 7th.
Panther relief pitcher, Jones, made the same mistake walking the lead-off batter for Hallsville, Zane Burkett. Burkett then stole 2nd, and when the throw from catcher went into centerfield, Burkett scampered to 3rd. Zane Parnell then was hit by a pitch, and with runners at 1st and 3rd, Cooper Crane squeeze-bunted Burkett home for the walk-off win.
The Indians marked their 14th win on the season against four losses, and Centralia’s record evens at 10-10. There is a good chance the two programs meet up again next week in the district tournament. #4 seed, Centralia must get by #5 seed, Bowling Green on Saturday to advance to the semifinals where Hallsville, the #1 seed awaits after drawing a first-round bye.
Hallsville played its final regular Tuesday, traveling to Sturgeon for a V/JV match