The Plano baseball team had a flair for the dramatic in its area playoff series against South Grand Prairie.
It took 10 innings before the Wildcats could eke out a 4-3 victory in a contentious Game 1 with the Warriors. Twenty-four hours later, Plano outdid itself on its home diamond.
Facing a deficit entering their half of the seventh inning for the second straight night, the Wildcats got a lift from the top of their batting order thanks a two-run home run by senior Jason Hawkins for a 3-2 come-from-behind, walk-off victory over SGP to secure a spot in the regional quarterfinals.
Hawkins’ momentous homer was set up by a leadoff walk drawn by senior Reese Miller. That prompted a pitching change by SGP, with Hayden Roop taking the hill after six innings thrown by Bryce Chambers. Although the Warriors managed to induce a flyout by senior Jacob Prokarym for the first out of the inning, Hawkins assured those good vibes were short-lived — blasting a shot over the left-field wall to send Plano to the third round.
Tied 1-1 through six innings, SGP looked to have seized control after loading the bases with one out. That led to a sacrifice fly by Jacob Vargas to score Braylen Timmins for a 2-1 Warrior lead. That put SGP in front for the first time all night, trailing 1-0 after the first inning thanks to an RBI double from senior Logan Anderson.
Sophomore Kyle Bade threw 6.1 innings of two-run, six-hit ball and struck out nine batters in the win.
Plano had a counter for any offense from the Warriors all series. That included Thursday in Game 1 after SGP snagged a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Wildcats responded with three runs in the top of the seventh, pulling even after a wild pitch by the Warriors scored senior Ben Dunstone.
Junior Troy Piesker was the hero in the top of the 10th, putting the Wildcats in front 4-3 on an RBI single that drove in Hawkins.
Bound for the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2014, Plano could potentially draw a familiar face in District 6-6A champion Marcus. The state-ranked Marauders were on the verge of polishing off a two-game sweep of Richardson Pearce on Friday as the Wildcats' game went final.
Marcus swept its regular-season series against Plano, winning ballgames of 4-3 and 4-0 in late March.