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Hawks and Panthers meet in 1st round

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Steve Patterson

The Ellis County Press

RED OAK - The Red Oak Hawks and Midlothian Panthers met in the first round of the Bi-district playoffs in Class 4A Baseball and what a series this would be.

Actually, it was almost over after the first game, but a coin toss sent the playoff match up to a three game series instead of a one game winner moves on.

Game one of the series was held in Midlothian on Thursday, May 6.

The Hawks came in focused and determined to win game one and would get on the board first in the second inning and then a costly error by the Panthers allowed the Hawks to add another run in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the fourth, the Panthers finally scored closing the gap 2-1.

The Hawks went on to win game one thanks in part to Brent Fletcher’s (#23) 10 strike outs and some great defensive plays.

The Hawks were now ready to close out the series at home in front of a packed (standing room only) Buddy Groom field, but the Panthers didn’t get into the playoffs just to loose in the first round.

The Panthers quickly sent a message with the leadoff batter on second base, the second batter crushed a one over the left field wall and just like that, the Panthers were up 2-0 after two batters.

The Hawks were able to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the second inning, but the Panthers, after walks, hit batters and hits into the gaps moved runners around the bases adding three more runs going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Hawks were not able to generate anymore offense as the Panther took game two of the series 5-1.

Game three of the series moved back to Midlothian on Saturday, May 8.

On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, the Hawks looked rejuvenated and came in determined to win game three while the Panthers had no intentions to let the Hawks beat them again on their home field and as they say, the stage was set for an incredible game three.

Those that paid to see the game definitely got their money’s worth. The Hawks came out strong and after two innings were up 4-0 and looked totally in control.

However in baseball one swing of the bat can change the game and that’s what happened as the Panthers began to chip away at the Hawks 4-0 lead and would eventually tie the game 4-4.

What started out as an offensive game soon turned into a defensive battle.

Both teams made great defensive plays in the field to keep the game tied after seven innings.

In extra innings, both teams had chances to win the game each inning with runners in scoring positions, but the defensive prevented any runs from scoring until the bottom of the tenth.

With two outs and a runner on third base, the Panthers scored the winning run on an errant throw to first base allowing the runner on third base to score sending the Panthers onto the next round.

Congratulations to the Midlothian Panthers on winning the bi-district round and good luck in the playoffs.

As for the Hawks, they had a great season and provided us with some exciting baseball, especially in this playoff series and have a lot of young talent returning next year.

To see many more action photos from this series, visit www.movingpictures.photo reflect.com.

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