Tonight at Waco ISD Veterans Field in Waco, Harker Heights will square off with Cedar Hill in the bi-district round of the Class 6A playoffs at 7:30 p.m.

The Knights reached the postseason for the fifth consecutive year thanks to a 10-4 showing in District 8-6A competition to earn the third seed. They were 13-13-1 overall, but were missing ace starting pitcher Daniel Cole for all of the ore-league season.

Cole was able to play shortstop, but he did not see the mound prior to the commencement of 8-6A play.

But Cole returned to the mound in league play and resumed his dominant form. The senior eclipsed the 300-strikeout mark for his career last Friday in a 12-0 win over Killeen in five innings in a run-rule-shorted contest.

Cole threw all five innings and allowed just two hits and walked one while striking out 13.

For the season, Cole is 5-2 in nine games with one save. He has struck out 68 and limited opponents to a .178 batting average.

Jacob Mitchell solidified the No. 2 role on the mound for Harker Heights. The senior is 5-5 in 11 games with 65 strikeouts and has held opponents to just a .234 batting average.

Cole, Jackson Rinehart, Tre Martin, Spencer Young and Zane Wallace all registered a multi-hit game in the season finale against the Kangaroos. Cole, Jones, Rinehart, Matt Smith and Young all tallied doubles in the game, as well.

Mitchell leads the team in hitting with a .387 batting average with 11 doubles, two triples and 24 RBIs. Cole is hitting .378 with five home runs, Jones is hitting .329 with 15 RBIs and Rinehart is hitting .319.

Cedar Hill, who missed the postseason last year, reached the playoffs as the second seed of District 7-6A. The Longhorns were 17-10-1 overall and 9-5 against league competition.

Tonight’s contest is a one-game, winner-take-all showdown to reach the area round.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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