The Kilgore High School Diamond ‘Dogs are the reigning, defending kings of District 16-4A, and although there might be a couple of upstarts in Bullard and Spring Hill, Kilgore is on top of the mountain until someone knocks them off.
And that didn’t happen Tuesday.
Kilgore, hosting Bullard (the eighth-ranked team in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association poll), made short work of the Panthers, winning an 8-2 decision and sending them packing from Driller Park. At press time Friday evening, Kilgore was to play at Bullard.
Coach Eugene Lafitte’s Diamond Dogs already have split the season series with Spring Hill and are 16-5 this season, and their only district loss was at Spring Hill. If status quo holds, Kilgore will win at least a share of the district championship for the third straight year, the last two under Lafitte’s guidance.
Against Bullard Tuesday, Texas Tech commitment Chase Hampton was red-hot, allowing two runs on five hits, but with 13 strikeouts and just one walk. Conner Martin came on for 1 1/3 innings, giving up no hits and striking out two.
Colton Bowman took the loss for Bullard. Bowman pitched five innings and gave up four runs, three of them earned, on four hits, and walked five. He struck out six.
Kilgore scattered six hits over the seven innings, including a double by Jerrick “Deuce” Ervin, who went 2-for-3 in the game. Gus Witt, Khalon Clayton and Cole Thompson all each went 1-for-3. Clayton had 3 RBI. Hampton went 1-for-2 with an RBI and Witt had 2 RBI.
The Bulldogs, seeking a third-straight season of over 20 wins, will play at Gilmer on Tuesday night, starting at 6:30 p.m., and then will host Gilmer on Thursday (next Friday is Good Friday). The ‘Dogs have one more district game left after that (at Cumberland Academy in Tyler on April 23), and then finish the regular season with non-district games against New Diana (here on April 26) and at Rusk (April 27).