Defending state champion Parkview Baptist has made a habit of winning Class 3A playoff games. John Curtis had a different plan Monday.
Before their 6-3 loss to John Curtis at Mike Miley Stadium, the Eagles had won seven consecutive playoff games by an average margin of 6.3 runs per game over the past two seasons.
Top-seeded Curtis capitalized on two Parkview errors that produced three runs, a clutch single by Myles Washington in the sixth inning, and 3.1 innings of no-hit relief from Evan Hileman.
Curtis next plays Friday in the Class 3A semifinals against University Lab, a 5-3 winner over Albany. The semifinals and finals are at Sulphur’s McMurry Park.
“Parkview is a team that scores runs in bunches,” Curtis coach Johnny Curtis said. “We felt if we could hold them to single runs, we’d have a chance at the end.”
Washington, a dead pull right-handed hitter, had a plan of his own when he lined a run-scoring, bases-loaded single to the right side of second, breaking a 3-3 tie in the sixth. His hit scored Daniel Cabrera, who walked to start the inning.
“I knew they had scouted us,” Washington said. “They had been pitching me away, and the first pitch was fastball strike on the outside corner. I figured they were coming back with the same pitch.
“Ever since I was a six 6 or 7, my dad would get me in the backyard and throw to me,” said Washington. “He’d tell me, ‘Two outs, winning run on, hit it or go home.’ Today I hit it and we move on.”
After Washington’s single, Nick Studzinski’s ground ball to second forced a runner at second, but the throw to first was errant. Two runs ended up scoring on the play.
“The three runs in the sixth were huge,” said Hileman (10-3). “Myles’ hit was clutch.
“Whooo!,” Hileman added with a loud exclamation. “I have emotions I can’t explain right now. I’m so happy to be going to Sulphur.”
Curtis jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first only to see Parkview (22-13 and No.8 seed) produce single runs in the second, third and fourth innings against Patriots senior left-handed starter Harry Chairs. Chairs had pitched only 8.2 innings this season.
That was part of the plan, Curtis said.
“We had scouted them and they had trouble against Brusly’s left-hander in district,” he said. “Chairs had pitched 28 innings last season and 39 in the summer, so we had confidence he could give us a solid 3 or 4 innings.
In the third Curtis made it a 3-2 game. Mossy Mueller reached on an error, moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Dylan Robinson and scored a double play ground out.
Parkview starting pitcher Adam Tarver (6-1) went 5-plus innings before tiring. He also contributed a single and double as a hitter.
“He told me he was out of gas (in the sixth),” Parkview coach Darron Mitchell said. “I appreciated that. We bring in the ground ball pitcher and he gets a ground ball and we didn’t execute.”