CARROLLTON – For the second straight postseason series, the Hebron baseball team looked to master the art of a comeback.
Little Elm rallied to win Game 1 of a Class 6A bi-district series after a grand slam by senior Irvin Leonard, but Hebron outscored the Lobos 21-4 over the final two games to win the series in three games.
That series win was the first for Hebron since 2019.
Fast-forward to this week and Hebron was looking to ride the same formula against Dallas Jesuit. But the Rangers offense, coupled with mistakes by the Hawks, proved too much for Hebron, losing the first game 5-1 on Thursday and the second game 7-1 on Friday.
“Every time you take the field, you’ve got two teams that are trying to do things to win the game,” said Steve Stone, Hebron head coach. “In these two games, they were the better team.”
After falling behind 4-0 in the third inning Thursday, Hebron looked for a faster start Friday. The Hawks did just that. Senior Lane Haworth has delivered in clutch moments this season, including a solo home run in Game 2 against Little Elm. He got hold of another pitch on Friday as he clubbed a home run in the first inning to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
“He really finished strong,” Stone said. “He finished the way that he does, and that’s just who he is. He didn’t have the best season that he wanted. I just kept telling him, ‘Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it because I know who you are as a ballplayer.’ The good news with Lane is that he just kept at it.”
Hebron had other chances to plate runs but the Hawks tallied just two runs in the series despite connecting for 11 hits.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the third, Hebron mounted a two-out rally. The Hawks loaded the bases after singles by seniors MJ Seo, Cade Binion and Ian McCracken. However, sophomore Dillon Brandt induced a ground-ball out off the bat of Reid Hurtt to end the threat.
It’s a similar script as to how Game 1 played out. Hebron had at least one base runner from the second through sixth innings but could only plate one run – an RBI double from senior Catcher Ridings in the top of the fourth. But that hit only reduced Jesuit’s lead to 4-1.
After Hebron sophomore Marcos Paz struck out the side in the top of the first in Game 2, Jesuit stunned the Hawks to take a 4-1 lead. Jonah Timmons and James Jorgensen connected on back-to-back doubles to tie the score at 1-1 before an overthrow on a ground ball from Dominic Migliore gave the Rangers the lead. Tristan Bird’s hit to center field extended the advantage to 3-1, and a wild pitch allowed Jesuit to score its fourth run.
Hebron was unable to recover. Jesuit tacked on a Jake Fults two-run home run in the sixth to give the Rangers a five-run advantage and force the Hawks to a pitching chance. Senior Tyler Dobbs finished the game.
Although Paz was credited with the loss, Stone reflected on what was an otherwise breakout season for the sophomore right-hander. Paz held Flower Mound to one hit with 13 strikeouts, clinching the District 6-6A title for Hebron on April 28. Against Little Elm in Game 2, Paz allowed just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.
“Marcos took so many huge strides for us,” Stone said. “It’s hard to believe that he’s just a sophomore. He’s got amazing stuff. He’s an amazing young man. Tonight, he had good stuff. We just didn’t play our best baseball the last two days. When you don’t make plays it definitely comes back, and it did tonight.”
Stone spent an hour with his players after the game talking about non-baseball topics, and he thanked the players for a special season, especially the team’s 21 seniors. Hebron went 28-10.
“These kids have been together for so long,” he said. “I’ve been coaching for 34 years and have never had 21 seniors, and they’ve all been on the same page. Whether they grew up together or new, it’s just a family atmosphere, a brotherhood that they formed. Each of them just loved each other.”
Battle on the diamond: Hebron plays Jesuit in area-round baseball playoff
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