HARDIN VALLEY — The third time was the charm for Hardin Valley Academy’s baseball team Saturday afternoon, April 3.
The Hawks exorcised some demons against Science Hill with a 6-3 victory over the Hilltoppers in the DeMarini Classic at HVA.
Science Hill had a two-game winning streak against the Hawks, having beaten them on Friday, March 26, in Northeast Tennessee, 10-8.
The Hilltoppers also ended the Hawks’ 2019 season as the notched an 8-7 win in the state sectionals.
Early in Saturday’s contest, Science Hill scored two runs in the top of the first inning. The Hilltoppers got on the board with the help of a pair of Hardin Valley miscues.
Cole Torbett singled to lead off the game. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He came home on a fielder’s choice by his brother, Jack. No out was recorded on the play.
Jack Torbett scored on A.J. Motte’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
HVA coach Tyler Roach said he thought his team was snake-bitten against the Hilltoppers (8-5).
“I think they have a curse on us,” Roach said. “I don’t have to tell you about that substate game (in 2019) and then, we played them last Friday (March 26) and we beat ourselves. We should’ve won that game but we made mistakes and we beat ourselves.
“In that first inning, we were beating ourselves but I’m proud of the way we came back. We didn’t fold and that would be an easy thing to do when you’re beating yourselves.”
But the Hawks (9-2) responded with three runs in the bottom of the inaugural frame.
Leadoff hitter Archer Wong-Shasteen drew a leadoff walk and came home one out later when Austin King blasted a two-run shot over the left-field fence that knotted the game 2-2.
“Austin’s hitting well right now and he launched that ball,” Roach said. “He’s an ETSU commit and I thing he came in here against them with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.”
For his part, King said he knew what to expect the second time around against the Hilltoppers.
“When I came in, during pregame, I had a plan,” King said. “I knew how they were going to pitch me and (Science Hill starter Caleb McBride) hung a curveball on the first pitch.”
Hardin Valley took the lead a short time later catcher Ty Denton singled and was lifted for courtesy runner Mason Speanburg.
Speanburg would later score when McBride balked. From there, the Hawks never trailed again.
HVA extended its advantage to 4-2 when designated hitter Jackson Adkisson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
After the Hilltoppers added a run in the fifth, Hardin Valley scored twice in the bottom of the inning as Logan Ozias had a scoring single that plated King, who doubled. Drew Tilley’s RBI groundout plated Speanburg with the final run of the game.
Hawks’ starting pitcher Carson Hoffmeister, a sophomore, pitched five innings. He gave up three runs and three hits and walked two (one intentionally) and struck out six.
Ozias tossed two innings of scoreless relief to get the save. He gave up two hits and struck out three.