It may not be considered a major rivalry, but Plainview’s 11-7 win over Lone Grove was an intense back-and-forth meeting of two elite teams in Class 4A.
Neither coach built up the rivalry aspect leading into Tuesday’s game.
“It’s not because of the Plainview and Lone Grove rivalry,” Plainview coach Brent Hackney said. “I throw all that out the window. I’m from Lone Grove. I know it was a good team playing another good team. That’s probably why it felt more like a (rivalry). It’s a No. 9 against a No. 11, it’s good baseball.”
Drake Harper put Plainview ahead early, leading off the second inning with a home run that easily cleared the fence in right field.
In the bottom half of the second, Harper made a bare-handed play on a grounder and throw to first.
“We started hitting the ball finally,” Harper said. “I was in a zone.
“I was trying to catch it in the air, but it hit the ground and that’s the only play I had.”
Lone Grove responded with three runs in the third. Jacob Stewart hit a triple down the right-field foul line that appeared foul to many in the crowd, but was ruled fair to score the first two runs.
Justice Runke added an RBI single to left field to put the Longhorns ahead with a 3-1 lead.
The Longhorns caught another break in the fifth when a fly ball to right field was caught, but dropped by Plainview’s outfielder, allowing a fourth run to score. A bases loaded sacrifice fly gave Lone Grove a 5-1 lead.
Hackney appeared frustrated about his team’s performance, but they provided their own motivation.
“Our guys were kind of challenging each other,” Hackney said. “That was the turning point. We came off the field, and we’re always stressing things that are in our control, to worry about those things. It was an iffy call with two outs when they put one down the line. It didn’t look fair to me, but I wasn’t there right on top of it.”
The Indians’ bats came around in the fifth with seven runs. Vinny Martinez brought the first run home on a line drive over second with the bases loaded. Taber Jordan followed Martinez with a hit that sputtered along the third base line. Lone Grove’s pitcher attempted to make the play at home, but the catcher dropped the toss to make it a 5-4 Lone Grove lead.
Jordan Rickets put Plainview in front with a double to right field on a pitch hit off the handle of the bat to score two for a 6-5 Indians’ lead.
Kyle Williams hit a rip to left center field to score another run that forced a Lone Grove pitching change.
“Lone Grove is a great team, there is no doubt about it, they’re well coached,” Hackney said. “We showed a lot of character right there in coming back and keeping our composure.”
Stewart took over for Aaron Hamilton on the mound but committed a balk during his first at-bat before striking out the next batter to get out of the inning behind 8-5.
“We took advantage of a few mistakes, which it’s about time,” Hackney said. “It seems like everyone that we’ve been playing is taking advantage of our mistakes. It feels good to be on the other end of it for a change.”
Plainview added three more runs for good measure in the bottom of the sixth and held off Lone Grove to win and keep from being swept in the season series.
“They’ve beaten us a couple times and we knew that we owed them one,” Harper said. “Now that we know we can beat them, we look forward to playing them again.”
Plainview heads to the Byng tournament on Thursday and Lone Grove heads to Healdton on Thursday.