HARKER HEIGHTS — The Knights needed to rally. Now, they have to.
Hosting Waxahachie in the opening game of a Class 6A bi-district playoff series, Harker Heights allowed a run in the sixth and seventh innings, dropping it into a two-run deficit.
Looking to avoid a defeat, the Knights managed to put runners on second and third base with two outs remaining in the seventh inning, but they could not complete the comeback, falling 4-2.
The loss puts Harker Heights in a must-win situation when the series resumes today at 2 p.m. at Waxahachie with a deciding game to follow, if necessary.
The Knights never led in the contest as the Indians recorded a run in the first inning before increasing their advantage to 2-0 in the third inning, but Harker Heights immediately responded.
In the bottom of the inning, Tanner Wells’ RBI single scored teammate Eric Moore, who reached base on a walk, to put the Knights on the scoreboard, and moments later, Easton Culp scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Harker Heights (18-13-1) would struggle offensively, however, in the ensuing innings, producing just one hit and two base runners through the sixth inning, while six batters struck out.
Waxahachie (23-8) reclaimed a two-run cushion going into the bottom of the seventh inning after senior Xavier Thompson, who went 3 for 4, connected on his second triple of the game, scoring teammate Lucas Ferguson.
But the advantage would be threatened.
After a double play provided the Indians with the first two outs of the inning, the Knights worked their way into scoring position.
First, Culp hit a single, and Wells added a single in the following at-bat. Then, each advanced a base due to a balk, but Waxahachie relief pitcher Anthony Mata’s lone strikeout of the game secured the victory.
Led by Wells’ 3-for-4 showing, including a standup double in the first inning, Harker Heights finished with eight hits. Culp was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles, while designated hitter Axel Rios, second baseman Jett Millsap and third baseman Michael Saiz each had a hit.
Austin Mitchell took the pitching loss for the Knights, allowing seven hits and striking out five of the 29 batters he faced.
FRIDAY’S HIGH SCHOOL PLAYOFF SCORES
Class 6A bi-district (best-of-3)
- Belton 8, Duncanville 0 (Belton leads series 1-0)
- Copperas Cove 5, Mansfield 3 (Copperas Cove leads series 1-0)
- Waco Midway 2, Ellison 1, 9 innings (Midway leads series 1-0)
- Waxahachie 4, Harker Heights 2 (Waxahachie leads series 1-0)
Class 4A bi-district (best-of-3)
- Burkburnett 5, Lampasas 3 (Burkburnett leads series 1-0)
- Graham 7, Gatesville 2 (Graham leads series 1-0)
- La Grange 7, Salado 6 (La Grange leads series 1-0)
- Lake Belton 16, Manor New Tech 2, 6 innings (Lake Belton leads series 1-0)