By PATRICK CASEY
For Paxton baseball coach Jeff Bradley, winning a district championship never gets old. “We have been blessed to have great kids to coach and work with and it has led to great success.”
Paxton built upon what has become a winning tradition of district titles this decade as the Bobcats won their third consecutive District 1, Class A crown with a 15-2 victory over Laurel Hill on Thursday.
Laurel Hill, who hosted the four-team event, reached the championship game after a 3-1 victory over Rocky Bayou on Tuesday. The Hoboes ran out of pitching and Paxton pounded out 11 hits while drawing 12 walks in the contest to build an 11-2 win after three innings of play.
Paxton freshman Zach Forehand started the game and fell behind 2-0 after Laurel Hill put a pair of runs on the board in the opening frame. Forehand remained undaunted as he settled down to pitch the remaining five innings for a complete game win that saw him allow only six hits while walking no one. He threw only 40 pitches over the last four innings of play and only two Laurel Hill batters reached base during that span.
Forehand provided the final four runs of the night with a blast over the leftfield wall for a grand slam and a 10-run rule victory by the score of 15-2 after six innings of play. Forehand had three hits with five runs batted in while Ryan Lewellen added a pair of hits from the top of the line-up.
Ethan Jackson led Laurel Hill with two of their six hits while he pitched three innings of relief, after Paxton had built an 11-2 lead.
Paxton got to the championship game after dismantling Central High School 13-0 on Tuesday. Senior pitcher Colby Forehand went five innings to pick up the win.
Paxton junior Dan Geoghagan drove in five runs in that contest with Colby Forehand driving in three while striking out eight Jaguars batters in the process.
Paxton (13-3) earned a first round state playoff home game with Graceville (13-9) on Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. Details of that game were not available as the Herald went to press on Tuesday night.
Tourney Notes: If Paxton defeats Graceville, they will likely be headed for a trip to Malone to face a Tigers squad that will be heavily favored to defeat Laurel Hill. Paxton would play at Malone on Friday, May 8, but would host Laurel Hill if they won. If Paxton wins their first two playoff games, as they have done the last two years, they will almost surely run into Jacksonville Eagle’s View in the Region final. The Bobcats would host Eagle’s View, but have had their season come to an end the last three years at the hands of the Warriors, who have most of last year’s state championship team back for another run at the title. Eagle’s View has won three of the last four state titles in Class A.
By PATRICK CASEY