ROWLETT BASEBALL JAXON KIRKHUFF

Rowlett’s Jaxon Kirkhuff pitched a complete game on Friday in a 11-4 win over Rockwall, but the Yellowjackets bounced back on Saturday to claim Game 3 and the best-of-3 series.

Rowlett and Rockwall traded punches through the first two games of their Class 6A bi-district best-of-3 series on Thursday on Friday.

In the third game, however, it was the Yellowjackets who jumped to an early lead and then pulled away or a 11- 1 victory to close out the series on Saturday at Horner Ballpark on the campus of Dallas Baptist University.

Rockwall (22-10) advances to the area round where it will take on Waco Midway starting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Waco Midway, while the Eagles see their season come to an end.

Pitching depth is always a factor when a series goes to a third game and the Yellowjackets got a pair of good efforts from Charlie Giese and Andrew Tellia. Giese got the start and allowed just one run in three innings, while Tellia came on in relief, surrendering just a single base hit in three scoreless frames.

The game was scoreless until the third inning, when Rockwall was able to take a lead it would not relinquish.

Pearson Riebock doubled, Brayden Randle walked and Mac Rose plated both with a two-run double to grab a 2-0 lead.

The Yellowjackets went back to work in the top of the fourth.

Hunter Holt doubled, Riebock walked and Tellia had a two-run double. Rose plated a run on a ground out and Tyler Rolling added a RBI double to make it 6-0.

The Eagles tried to make things interesting in the bottom of the frame. Antonelli Savattere walked, Jaxon Kirkhuff doubled and Emilio Luna drew a free pass to load the bases with nobody out. Connor Hill forced in a run a walk, but the Yellowjackets were able to get a strike out and then turn a double play to get out of the jam with just one run crossing the plate.

Rockwall put it away in the sixth as it scored five times to put the run rule into effect.

Randle singled and scored on a double by Tellia. Rose followed with a RBI single, a run scored on an error, Holt had a sacrifice fly and Jack Jungels added a run-scoring base hit to push the lead to 11-1 and that is the way it would end.

There might not have been a need for a third game had Rockwall not put together a dramatic rally in the opener on Thursday.

For much of the night, it was a pitcher’s duel between Zach York of the Eagles and Rose for the Yellowjackets.

Rockwall took the early lead when Randle reached base and scored on a RBI single by Rose. They made it 2-0 in the fourth, as Tellia and Rose singled and Rollins executed a squeeze to plate Tellia.

Rowlett was held off the scoreboard until the top of the sixth, when they were able to tie it up.

York was hit by a pitch and Brock Knoerr followed with a RBI double. Savattere then added a base hit to plate another run to make it 2-2.

The game went to extra innings, and in the top of the eighth, the Eagles put together a two-out rally.

Knoerr walked and Douglas Randall also drew a free pass. Savattere then came through with what was potentially the biggest hit of the season, blasting a three-run home run and it was suddenly a 5-2 game.

While momentum was fully with Rowlett, Rockwall did not panic and went to work in the bottom of the eighth to put together a series-changing rally of its own.

Holt waked, Riebock singled and Randle walked to load the bases. They were quickly cleared, as Tellia followed with a three-run double and it was suddenly tied at 5-5.

It did not stay that way for long, as Jake Overstreet capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to complete the comeback with the 6-5 win.

After all the drama on Thursday, the Eagles returned to their home field with a renewed focus on Friday.

The Yellowjackets drew first blood when Randle belted a solo home run in the top of the first inning.

Rowlett matched it in the bottom of the frame, as Knoerr walked and scored when Kirkhuff reached on an error.

The Eagles threatened for more, but left runners on base.

They did not make the same mistake in the second.

With one out, York and Brayden Bowman drew back-to-back walks and Knoerr followed with a RBI single. After Randall drew a free pass, Savattere forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk.

The Rockwall defense then made a mistake on Emilio Luna’s fly ball, allowing three runs to score and it was suddenly a 6-1 game.

The Yellowjackets tried to rally in the top of the third inning.

Riebock walked and Randle launched his second home run. Tellia then reached on an error and Rollins delivered a RBI triple to close the gap to 6-4.

The Eagles matched that in the bottom of the frame with a two-out rally. It started innocently enough, as Bowman reached on an error.

After a walk to Knoerr, Randall drove in a run when he reached on a Rockwall miscue. Savattere walked and when Kirkhuff reached on another error, two more runs came around to score to push the lead to 9-4.

Kirkhuff, who went the distance striking out five, shut it down from there, delivering four scoreless fames the rest of the way.

The Eagles added insurance in the fourth when Heath Salyards walked and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bowman, and in the fifth, Randall singled and scored on a base hit by Kirkhuff to make it 11-4 and that is the way it would end.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson. Email Devin with sports story suggestions at dhesson@starlocalmedia.com.

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