It started with a destructive foul ball. And by the time Damion May’s first-inning grand slam left the park, Ellison’s spirits were as crushed as Charles Hardage’s back windshield.

After a foul ball off the bat of Harker Heights leadoff hitter J.T. Gilmore shattered the windshield of his grandfather’s 2005 red Toyota Corolla, the Knights rolled up eight runs in the top of the first inning en route to an 18-6, five-inning victory over host Ellison on Thursday.

“I actually didn’t know (about it) until a couple of innings later and I thought, ‘Hey, it did sound like I hit a windshield,’” Gilmore said. “So I peaked out of the fence and was like, ‘Oh man, that looks like my grandpa’s car.’”

Beginning with a leadoff single by Gilmore, Heights’ first six batters reached base, but none were bigger than May’s first home run of the season.

Locked into a full count after Ellison starter Colby Reece walked the bases loaded with back-to-back hit batters — the second of which scored Gilmore — May lofted the next offering into deep left field.

“Usually that would be a popup in most games, but it feels good to be a leader for my team and be able to make plays at the plate,” said the sophomore right fielder. “I was kind of skeptical about that one. I got down the first base line and was frozen — I didn’t know what to do.”

But thanks to the strong winds blowing out to left, the ball landed just beyond the glove of Eagles left fielder Taylor Jacobs to give Heights a quick 5-0 lead, all with no outs.

“Damion’s ball getting out really jump started it, but J.T. had a great at bat, he fouled off a lot of pitches and worked the count deep and then gets a base hit,” Knights coach Glenn Cunningham said. “And then things started to roll from there.”

Heights’ No. 6 batter Cody Plagens doubled and Robbie Sluss and Tyler Zeller — the eighth and ninth batters — each singled before Gilmore laid down a bunt single that died midway down the third base line to load the bases.

No. 2 batter Stefan Flores followed with his second double of the inning for a pair of RBIs to chase Reece, who allowed eight runs in just 1/3 of an inning of work.

“You put a senior on the mound, you expect your senior to compete, and I don’t think he competed,”

Ellison coach Kyle Allred said of Reece. “That’s just not being ready to pitch.”

Following a second straight hit-by-pitch to Emery Atkisson, Eagles reliever Austin Garrett got out of it without any more damage.

Not that Heights (9-4-1, 3-1 12-5A) was done scoring.

The Knights added three more in the second and then posted a six-run third on a three-run home run by Atkisson, who finished 1-for-2 with four RBIs — the same line as May.

“Hitting’s just a contagious thing. One person does it and everybody wants to jump on board,” said Gilmore, who was 3-for-3 in just two innings. “So whenever the whole team starts clicking like that, it makes it fun. Everybody wants to chip in and do their part.”

Ellison (1-17, 0-4) finally got on board with five unearned runs in the bottom of the third trailing 17-0 on a two-RBI throwing error by Heights backup Zach Mosley and a three-run home run from Eagles freshman Landon Persick.

Knights ace Hunter Mayo earned the win, striking out eight while going the distance.


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