By DANIEL GREEN
SULPHUR – Baseball games can’t be won in the first inning.
But the Hicks Pirates weren’t about to lose it either.
The third-seeded Pirates scored five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back in blasting the second-ranked Calvin Cougars in the Class C semifinals at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Wednesday, 11-1.
Calvin starter Dylan Kyle was shelled in the top of the first by the aggressive bats of the Pirates. Bryson Rachal reached on a 1-out error and took second on a stolen base. He managed to score off a single from Zach Haymon to open the scoring.
Brad Pelt followed with a single to put runners at the corners and Dakota Edwards would reach on an error to score two runs for a 3-0 lead.
Hayden Doyle was hit by a pitch and both he and Edwards scored on a 2-run single off the bat of Cayden Cowgill for a 5-0 lead.
After a scoreless inning, the Pirates pushed a run across in the third when Edwards walked and later scored on a single from Kane Hagan for a 6-0 lead.
Hicks’ lead continued to grow with three more runs in the fourth. Rachal doubled to open the inning and scored on a single from Pelt. After a single from Edwards gave Hicks two runners, Doyle smacked a 2-run double to give Hicks a 9-0 advantage.
Calvin pushed a run across in the fourth, but Hicks answered with two more in the fifth thanks to RBIs from Rachal and Haymon for an 11-1 lead.
The Cougars had a chance to extend the game in the bottom of the frame, but stranded a runner at third to give Hicks the mercy-rule victory.
Doyle earned the win on the mound for the Pirates, throwing only 42 pitches through four innings of work. He gave up one run on seven hits with four strikeouts. Haymon worked the last inning, allowing no runs on two hits.
Kyle suffered the loss for the Cougars on the mound, working just over two innings, giving up six runs. Cooper Spangler, John Bradley Griffin and Wayne Curtis Huckaby each had two hits for Calvin.