There are a handful of games left in the regular season, but Kilgore High School baseball has placed themselves in a great position, squarely atop the District 16-4A standings – a place they’re now accustomed to assuming the last three years.
Kilgore beat previously-eighth-ranked Bullard, 9-2, on Friday night in Bullard to complete a sweep of the Panthers. Coach Eugene Lafitte’s Diamond ‘Dogs are now 17-5 overall, and are 3-1 against both Bullard and Spring Hill in the last 2 ½ weeks.
The schedule sent the Bulldogs to Gilmer on Tuesday for a game that was to be played after the print deadline for this issue of the News Herald.
Kilgore will host the Buckeyes on Thursday, also at 6:30 (instead of Friday, due to the Good Friday holiday).
Maybe with adrenaline pumping, the Bulldogs plated four runs in the first inning on Friday night, just three days after blasting Bullard, 8-2, here at Driller Park.
KHS added two more runs in the second inning and three in the fifth, collecting nine runs on just five hits – but on six Bullard errors.
Of the five hits, two of them belonged to Conner Martin, who’s been hot lately. Martin went 2-for-5, both singles, but with an RBI. Cole Thompson had a double and 2 RBI; Gus Witt and Khalon Clayton also each had a hit.
Brayden Johnson was money on the mound for the ‘Dogs. He struck out four, walked five, but allowed just two runs on six hits.
Hagen Smith took the loss for the Panthers. In 2 2/3 innings, Smith allowed six runs (but just two of them earned) on four hits, and walked six. C.J. Gardner pitched 4 1/3 innings for Bullard and allowed one earned run and one hit, and struck out five.
Kilgore got within one win of the state tournament last year, and counting the 17 wins so far this season, the Diamond ‘Dogs have won 70 games since the start of the 2017 campaign, the last two of those seasons under Lafitte.