Parkview Baptist senior first baseman Austin Taylor couldn’t have asked for a better send-off.
With 13 seniors — including six starters — playing in their last home game, Taylor made certain it wasn’t his team’s final contest of the season.
Taylor homered and doubled in the same inning, a seven-run second, that helped catapult No. 8 Parkview Baptist to a 10-4 Class 3A regional playoff victory over No. 9 Iowa on Wednesday.
“That’s exactly how we wanted to go out,” Taylor said. “Warming up we’re thinking this is the last time warming up for a game on this field. It’s surreal. It’s not something you can prepare yourself for. I’ve been here since kindergarten. I feel like I’m never going to leave. Now it’s over, it’s like, ‘are you sure about that?’ It’s great.”
Parkview Baptist (21-12) took another step toward defending its state championship and garnering the program’s 13th overall state crown. The Eagles travel to face top-seeded John Curtis in quarterfinal action.
“Anytime you can get seven in one (inning) it’s nice,” Parkview coach Darron Mitchell said. “That’s a quality ballclub over there and we came out and swung it pretty well and pitched well at times. When you get seven in the second, that helps set the tone a lot.”
Parkview starter Adam Tarver pitched around lead-off errors in the first and second innings to keep Iowa scoreless.
Taylor, who began the season hitting .133, raised his average to near .400 with his 3-for-3 effort that included a double and a pair of RBIs. Chris Dupont (2-4, 2 RBIs) and Sam O’Brien (2-4) also had multiple hits and were part of a 12-hit effort.
“Austin’s swinging it very well now,” Mitchell said. “Our guys expect him to hit the ball hard when he comes to the plate. That energy flows through Austin. He’s a catalyst. I wish there were two or three people on base, but I’ll take a solo home run to get everything started.”
Taylor’s no-doubt homer — his sixth of the season — nearly cleared the protective netting in front of the scoreboard on a 1-0 pitch from Iowa ace Dayton Laborde.
Ten consecutive players reach base safely — a stretch that included seven hits, a hit batsman, walk and error — that all contributed to the Eagles seizing control early .
“You have to tip your hat to Parkview,” Iowa coach Sean Richard said. “When we made mistakes, they did a good job. They’re a very good ballclub, and when we made mistakes they made us pay. That’s what good teams do.”
Parkview chased Laborde (10-2) after 1.1 innings, six hits and three earned runs. Taylor clobbered a first-pitch strike from reliever Koby Buquet to the base of the wall in right-center field for a RBI double.
“It felt like it was contagious and everybody started hitting and it kind of started a fire,” Taylor said.
Iowa (23-9) scored twice against Tarver in the third with Brad Whittington doubling just inside the first-base bag for a run, and Dayton Sonnier adding a RBI-single.
Tarver (6-0) went four innings, throwing 51 of 76 pitches for strikes. He yielded six hits, two runs, walked none and struck out four.
Side-armed Alex O’Neal got an extended relief appearance, giving up two hits and two runs over three innings. He walked two and struck out one.
“That’s a surprise,” Mitchell said of the score’s disparity. “Do we have the capability? Yes, but playing against Sean’s team you don’t see that every day. We hit some mistake pitches, and we hit them hard. That was nice. It gives you a little bit of comfort. We need a little better pitching in closing off, but it was nice.”