The Brock Eagles (30-5-1) and Wall Hawks (35-0) met in the Class 3A regional semifinals in both 2017 and 2018, with the latter taking the series two years ago while the former clinched the series last season.
Game one of the teams’ regional final series starts at 6 p.m. today at Abilene Christian University’s Crutcher Scott Field.
Game two starts at 1 p.m. Friday (also at ACU), with game three (if needed) beginning afterwards.
For Brock, this season’s regional final series represents a chance to repeat against a team it swept, 8-4 and 9-1 (in the playoffs) in 2018.
“I do feel like it is beneficial to play a familiar opponent in consecutive years, because you don’t have to wonder how good they are, you know how good they are,” Brock Head Coach Hart Hering said. “We have a good idea of each other’s style of play, so there won’t be a lot of surprises out on the field. It will be a competitive atmosphere for sure. We have some history with them, as they do with us. It’s almost like a postseason rival because we face them so often in all sports.”
For Wall, the series stands as a chance to avenge those same two losses and return to the state tournament, something the Hawks accomplished in 2017, defeating the Peaster Greyhounds in the regional finals.
The Eagles are coming off a series comeback versus the Bushland Falcons which saw the former shake off an 8-0 shutout in game one with wins of 6-1 and 2-0.
The Hawks have swept each of their first four postseason opponents, most recently defeating the Breckenridge Buckaroos, 5-4 and 11-1 in the regional semifinals.
Before that, Wall eliminated Crane in one game, 12-2 (bi-district), Amarillo River Road, 10-0 and 23-1 (area) and Alpine, 19-11 and 16-4 (quarterfinals).
“They have a high powered offense that will be extremely tough to slow down, they have a lot weapons and can hurt you in a lot of different ways,” Hering said. “That’s what is going to make this a fun series, because we have been pitching really well this postseason. Something is going to have to give, when you have great hitting going head on with great pitching. [Cooper] Nelson has been a rock for our pitching staff all year long and Carson Lightfoot has great stuff with a chance to be dominate each time he takes the mound, and Caleb Satterfield has stepped up in the biggest spots and got it done for his team.”
No opponent has been able to best the Hawks in 2019, who have fought their way to a perfect 35-0 mark.
Aside from the team’s game one loss to Bushland, Brock has done well taking control of postseason series early in 2019, beating Childress, Cisco and Clyde by a combined score of 29-8 in the teams’ respective first matchups.
The Eagles finished as a 2018 state semifinalist.
“I don’t think either team will be caught up in the winning streak they have, when the first pitch of the series is thrown, it will be 100% about who can execute the game and find a way to score one more run than the opponent,” Hering said. “I do think that if we can start fast it will be important to our success, due to fact that they haven’t had to play from behind very often and maybe we can make them uncomfortable. Any team can be beaten on any given day, so that’s why you play the games to find out.”