HARKER HEIGHTS — The last time Harker Heights saw Mikeal Parsons, the Knights got 11 hits off the Waco Midway starter only to fall victim to a late Panther rally.
On Tuesday, the Knights managed just five hits against Parsons.
But victory didn’t evade them this time.
Heights freshman Daniel Cole scattered six hits over seven innings and retired seven straight batters to end the game as the Knights defeated Midway 3-1 at Harker Heights High School.
It was just the second district loss for the Panthers this season.
“I knew we had it in us,” Cole said. “I knew we’re a great team.
“We just had to fight.”
Heights has now won five straight games and can clinch the No. 3 seed in District 8-5A on Friday with a win against Copperas Cove or a Temple loss to Killeen.
Heights led Midway for five innings in the first meeting before the Panthers came up with two late runs to win by one.
On Tuesday, Heights went up early again, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the first before sophomore Tyler Torres slapped a two-run single to center for a 2-0 lead.
It continued a resurgence for the sophomore after a slow start to the district season.
“My confidence level is great,” Torres said. “But I knew that our bats were awake when we came out tonight.”
After getting out of the inning with no further damage, Parsons retired nine straight batters, striking out six in the process.
But armed with a lead, Cole was just as tenacious on the mound and on defense.
Midway cut the lead to 2-1 on a Jared Pool sacrifice fly in the third but was denied a chance to tie in the fourth when Sam Glaesmann was called out at the plate on a bunt squeeze attempt that Cole fielded for the out.
Cole later stopped a Midway two-out rally before it started in the fifth by retiring the next batter in two pitches.
That was the first of seven straight he retired to end the game.
“I knew getting just that lead we would be OK,” Cole said. “We had a pretty good in and out, and I knew we were going to do great. I just wanted to throw strikes and let my defense play behind me.”
Heights added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Parsons walked in a run after striking out the first two batters to start the inning.
And while Heights didn’t need the run, head coach Glenn Cunningham was happy to see the team make the most of its opportunities against Parsons, who finished with 10 strikeouts.
“We got 11 hits off him last time. Tonight, he was better,” Cunningham said. “But we made our hits count, and that was important. I’m really proud of our kids.”
And while Heights has now won five in a row, the last two — in which the Knights avenged losses to Temple and Midway — left Cunningham particularly happy heading into the regular-season finale Friday.
“Tonight was a huge win for us and a big confidence builder. The last two games have been really good for us because they were two big ball games and we came through,” Cunningham said. “I’m just so proud of our kids. They really did a great job of competing and got a big win.”