ENNIS – Red Oak already had the trophy in-hand heading to Saturday’s final tournament game. Literally.
Ennis presented the Hawks with the Ennis Baseball Booster Club Classic championship plaque expecting the team to take care of business against Seagoville. Mansfield and Sulphur Springs, both teams Red Oak beat earlier in the tournament, declined to play the Hawks for the title, leaving just one game to take care of to seal the title. Red Oak took care of that with 12 first inning runs to beat Seagoville 12-0.
“It was real good to come out early and get it done. We really wanted to come out here and just have a good positive day,” second baseman Zach Gonzales said. “We wanted to come out, get the bats rolling, get it done quick.”
Gonzales led the game off with a single that sparked the offensive unit to an incredibly fast start. Red Oak (10-7, 1-1 district) had the first three batters reach and scored a run on a wild pitch and a steal of home plate. Dillon Morales’ sac fly cleared the bases and a ground out by Robert Elles put two down in the first inning.
That’s when everything started going wrong for the Dragons and right for the Hawks. The next 12 batters reached on four hits, four errors, three walks and a hit-by-pitch as the team plated nine runs with two outs and every hitter got the chance to bat twice in the first inning.
“We came out in the first inning and with the win blowing the way it is you never know how many runs you’re going to score,” coach Heath Autrey said. “We stayed on top of it, found some holes and guys swung the bats pretty good early. We were aggressive on the bases and swung the bats good in the first inning.”
That was all the run support three Red Oak arms would need to dominate the Seagoville lineup. Starter Hunter Gnoza pitched two innings, retiring the Dragons in order.
Knuckle ball pitcher Wade Regas came on in the fourth to pick up three quick outs including a strike out. Beau Kirby pitched the fourth, allowing the only hitter to reach first base on an error after the entire fielding lineup was replaced with reserves.
The defense made up for the mistake by getting a fly ball out to center and then turning a 4-6-3 double-play to end the game. The trio combined for no runs on no hits with no walks.
Last season, the Hawks used the Ennis tournament as a springboard for the district season, going 4-0 over the next two weeks and closing the season 9-4 for a bi-district playoff berth.
With county rival Waxahachie on Tuesday, the weekend’s success will quickly be judged as a building block or false hope.
“(We hope to) probably do the same thing, use it as a booster going into district. From here on out, that’s what matters is district,” center fielder Dillon Morales said. “We’ve got Waxahachie on Tuesday and against Poteet I think we only had one or two hits so to get back on track with the bats is real good.”