BELTON — Salado and Lorena broke into a game of tag Friday night, until the Eagles finally couldn’t be caught in extra innings.
Salado scored three runs in the top of the eighth and held off Lorena 7-5 in Game 1 of the teams’ Class 4A Region III quarterfinal best-of-three series at Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Red Murff Field.
The Eagles (25-3-2) will now try to play keep away and advance another week. Game 2 is slated for 11 a.m. today back at UMHB with Game 3, if necessary 30 minutes after.
Dalton Hawes’ RBI infield single in the eighth put Salado ahead 5-4 and Jacob Wilk, who had a solo home run in the third, followed with a two-run single off Lorena’s submarine-style relief pitcher Caleb Williams.
Wilk, who took over for Salado starter Ryan Oakes in the seventh, allowed one run on a walk, single and wild pitch in the eighth but got the potential tying run, Caiden Livingston, to fly out to end it.
Hawes finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Wilk, who was credited with the win, was 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Bo Smedshammer had an RBI triple and A.J. Bell went 2 for 4 with a run scored for Lorena (21-8).
Oakes pitched six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits. He walked three, hit one, struck out two and also worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth, getting a pop out, strikeout and a line out, which was snared by the outstretched Hawes at second to keep it tied at 4-4.
Lorena starter Jared Davenport allowed six hits, four runs and five walks while striking out two in five innings.
Kade Maegen’s bases-loaded walk and Caleb Self’s RBI single put Salado ahead 2-0 in the first.
Singles by Braden Smith and Bryce Strahan started Lorena’s second and the Leopards cashed in for one with help of Wilk’s error at shortstop, where he missed played a grounder off the bat of Bell, who later advanced to third on an error and scored when Williams put down a bunt to even it at 2.
Wilk opened the third with a solo home run to left-center field to lift Salado back in front 3-2.
Lorena took its first lead in the third, using Smedshammer’s triple and Strahan’s fielder’s choice grounder for a 4-3 advantage.
Hawes’ bloop single to right scored Max Marin to reintroduce the deadlock, 4-4, where it stood into the extra frames.