Through five games, no one in District 15-4A has been able to handle defending champ Kilgore.
That continued Friday afternoon at Driller Park, as the Diamond ‘Dogs ran their district record to 5-0 with a 3-1 win over Gladewater.
Senior pitcher Javan Smitherman gave another spectacular complete-game performance, rolling up 16 strikeouts, including striking out the side in the seventh and final inning. Smitherman is on pace to break Kilgore’s single-season strikeouts record. He only allowed three hits to the Bears, and one run, and it was unearned. He only walked one.
Incredibly, his first pitch to 21 of the 27 batters faced was a strike.
Even with Smitherman on the mound and rocking, the Bulldogs still trailed, 1-0, until late in the contest. Kilgore scored three runs in the sixth inning. Khalon Clayton singled, then advanced to second on a bunt by his brother, Trea. Gus Witt popped up for the second out, and things weren’t looking good.
But Cole Thompson singled to left field, and that was deep enough, also, to score Khalon and tie the game up at 1-1.
Jayce McFarland drew a walk, moving Thompson to second, of course. And then Ren Reynolds, who’s also having a fantastic senior season so far, doubled to center, scoring both McKinnon White (running for Thompson) and McFarland to give the Bulldogs the 3-1 lead. Smitherman did the rest in the seventh, striking out all three Gladewater batters.
Reynolds went 2-for-4 in the game with the 2 RBI. Khalon Clayton had the single; Witt was 2-for-3; and Thompson had his single.
Chance Phillips did a nice job on the mound for Gladewater, holding Kilgore to just the six hits. Still, though, he took the loss. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, struck out just one, walked two, and allowed the three earned runs on five hits. Keylon Mack allowed Kilgore’s other hit.
Kilgore (13-3 on the season overall) has six straight wins; the last loss was a non-district game at Athens back on March 13.
The Bulldogs will be back home Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., hosting Chapel Hill.
Gladewater 5, Kilgore 2 (softball): Kilgore slipped in its attempt to win back-to-back district games, falling at home to the visiting Lady Bears Friday afternoon.
Gracie Gossage and Miah Thomas each had a triple and scored in the contest for KHS. And Gossage also had a single. Pitcher Kristen Wilson had a single, as well, and so did Tra’Kaila Graves.
Gladewater got a good performance by pitcher Murphy Williams, who finished with nine strikeouts. Wilson took the loss for Kilgore. Gladewater had 11 hits but only two of them were extra-base hits, both doubles. Wilson walked just one and struck out two.
The Lady ‘Dogs were also at home Tuesday night against Chapel Hill, and are home again Friday against Bullard, starting with junior varsity at 5.
Kilgore’s girls are 2-4 prior to Tuesday’s game against Chapel Hill, and only have three games remaining in the regular season: here against Bullard on Friday, at Gilmer on Tuesday, then home next Friday, April 20, against Spring Hill.
They’re trying to be in the top four (of the six district teams) in order to make the Class 4A playoffs.