By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
Jon Skidmore’s grand slam fueled Highland Park’s six-run outburst in the second inning, which was more than enough to beat Harker Heights 6-2 on Thursday at Scotland Yard to open a Class 6A Region II area round series.
In the bottom of the second inning, William Wessman led off with a single up the middle. Kyle Robertson drew a walk, and Sawyer Lake’s hard grounder to third followed by a throwing error allowed Wessman to score, giving HP a 1-0 lead with no outs.
That’s when the fireworks ensued. After Jake Howell was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded for Skidmore. The Baylor signee took a fastball from Harker Heights pitcher Michael Zapata deep over the left-field wall to put HP on top 6-0.
That was all the scoring for the Scots (25-5) for the rest of the evening, but all they needed as they held the Knights (18-11) to two runs.
“I thought after that explosive second inning that our bats were going to stay hot,” said HP head coach Travis Yoder. “But Zapata pitched well after the second inning and really all night, and they were able to stay in the game.”
Yoder was pleased with the win, but insisted his team must play with more vigor and consistency to continue advancing.
“We scored enough to the beat them,” he said. “But we cannot play lackadaisical ball just because we have a lead. Actually we struggled all night at the plate. One of our mottos in these playoffs is to play hard no matter the score and with no excuses.”
Coming off a strong performance in the first round against Irving MacArthur, William Adair pitched another complete game to notch the win for the Scots.
If weather and field conditions permit, the best-of-three series will continue tonight at Harker Heights, which is in Killeen ISD. Otherwise, the two teams will play Game 2 on Saturday in Glen Rose, with a third game to follow if necessary.