Kilgore baseball drops opener, tourney rained out

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Kilgore High School's Diamond 'Dogs, ready and willing to defend their District 15-4A championship from a year ago, as the 2018 season begins, will have to put it in park for a few more days.

The Bulldogs lost their season opener, 3-1, at Liberty-Eylau in a game played Tuesday afternoon that was moved up in the day to avoid the thunderstorms and rain.

But KHS was entered in this week's Harmony tournament, and with all the rain the last few days -- and more expected today -- the tournament was officially canceled Thursday morning.

Kilgore's next scheduled game isn't until the Oil Belt Classic tournament here at Driller Park on March 1-3. There is a possibility the 'Dogs might try and pick up a game or two in the next week; we'll keep you informed here at kilgorenewsherald.com.

The Bulldogs, coached now by Eugene Lafitte (in his first season here), played well at L-E, and led much of the game. Kilgore scored in the top of the second. Jayce McFarland scored the run, and Gus Witt got the RBI.

But the Leopards scored three in the bottom of the sixth, and Kilgore just couldn't complete the comeback.

Kilgore had five hits: Trea Clayton was 1-for-2; McFarland, Harlee Biggs, Javan Smitherman and Cole Thompson were each 1-for-3.

Kilgore, with no errors in the game, got 5 2/3 innings of good work on the mound from Dallas Baptist signee Smitherman. The senior allowed three runs, two earned, and struck out seven. L-E had six hits.

Ren Reynolds, a senior who recently signed with Frontier Community College (Ill.), came on for the final L-E at bat, throwing just one pitch, though: catcher Khalon Clayton threw out a runner.

Kilgore is hoping for a similar season to 2017, when the Bulldogs set a single-season school record for wins and captured the district title.

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