In an impressive hitting display, Plainview hit three home runs in a game. The final blast, an opposite-field shot in the fifth inning by Drake Harper, invoked the run rule.
The Indians’ starting pitcher, Carter Bowker, threw five scoreless innings as Plainview (19-7) powered past Madill 8-0 at Plainview High School on Tuesday.
Bowker’s solo home run to right field opened the scoring.
“That’s unlike us, having three (home runs) in one game,” said Plainview coach Brent Hackney. “I’ll take it. It was good.”
Senior Gus Wells hit his first career home run in the bottom of the first inning. The shot to left-center field gave Plainview its second and third two-out RBIs in the inning and pushed its lead to 4-0.
“He really got a hold of his,” Hackney said of Wells’ home run. “Carter, in that first inning, kind of got the ball rolling for us. I know that ball was still up. He took advantage of it.”
The inning got started with a well-struck ball hit by Jordan Rickets. Madill starting pitcher Blake Conway knocked down the liner, but the ball caromed off of him toward third base.
Conway responded with a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
Hackney praised Madill senior Samuel Bond, who recorded the first out on a well-struck fly ball to center field.
“Their center fielder is good. He’s fast and can cover a lot of ground,” Hackney said.
“That’s what we tell the kids, ‘You can’t be upset whenever you’re hitting the ball hard and somebody makes a good play. You’ve got to go out there, keep pounding away and doing what you’re supposed to do.’ It paid off for Drake in that last at-bat.”
Madill (6-10) had chances to slice its deficit. Joe Avery and Conway led off the second and third innings, respectively, with doubles. In the second inning, Bowker recorded three strikeouts to strand two base runners in scoring position. He did so, in part, by elevating two-strike fastballs to two consecutive hitters.
“Mostly with two strikes, I try to throw it either outside or up high to get them to chase it,” Bowker said. “I had to get some outs because they got a lead-off double and I walked one. I had to do that for my team. My defense was making plays behind me.”
Bowker said keeping Madill off the scoreboard was important.
Hackney said Bowker’s ability to escape jams boosted his confidence.
“(With) a lead-off double, you’ve just got to refocus, get back up there and let your defense work,” Hackney said. “On top of that, him hitting spots, throwing strikes, we were able to get out of those two jams. That’s what makes good defensive baseball. It was big.”
Madill coach Randy Rushing said his team did not give itself a good chance to win.
“We didn’t hit the ball behind him,” Rushing said, referring to Conway. “They’ve got a good team.”
Bowker praised his teammates for their performance at the plate.
“(It was) a hitter’s win today,” he said.
The victory was Plainview’s sixth in a row, and 10th in 11 games. Hackney attributed the success to the team’s enhanced sense of camaraderie.
“The atmosphere right now around these kids is electric,” he said. “I love it. I love how everything’s going on right now and we’re definitely headed in the right direction.”