BULLARD — Garrett Moore hadn’t hit a home run all year, but his coach had the prescience to call it.
“Right before that pitch I said, ‘You know, Garrett’s fixing to hit a two-run home run right here,’” Bullard Brook Hill coach Terry Pirtle said.
He was right.
Moore’s two-run blast to left field gave the Guard the 10-run advantage they needed to run-rule Katy Faith West 11-1 in five innings in their TAPPS 3A area playoff at Herrington Field on Tuesday.
Brook Hill (25-3), the defending state champion, will host Lubbock Christian at 2 p.m. Saturday in the regional playoffs.
The Eagles (17-9) fell to the Guard for the second straight season in the area round.
They lost 2-1 in nine innings last year.
Moore, who finished the day with two runs and two RBIs, had hit home runs in his previous two batting practices, tipping Pirtle to the probable power production.
“He’s been hitting the ball really good,” Pirtle said of his first baseman. “All our kids have been hitting the ball well.”
The Guard had been hitting so well that it was unusual for them to be scoreless after two innings. Brook Hill scored 10 and 11 runs in the first innings of their two warmup games last week.
Facing Chris Riggle, who last year held the Guard to two runs in nine innings, the Brook Hill bats were again quiet through two innings.
Katy Faith West took a 1-0 lead off an RBI double from Shane Donaldson in the top of the second. The Eagles threatened to increase that advantage in the third before right fielder Quintin Pile gunned down Jordan Boling at home plate to end the inning.
Perhaps sparked by Pile’s play — and catcher Kendall Kerns’ tag — the Guard finally got to Riggs, putting up nine runs on seven hits and three errors in the bottom of the third.
Michael Greening started things off with a single and later added a double in the game-changing frame. Greening scored on a triple by JB Moss, who also scored on that play on a throwing error to third. Moss scored the final run of the inning on another throwing error.
“We’ve done a really good job of extending innings and hitting the ball with runners in scoring position,” said Pirtle, whose team is batting .435 with runners in scoring position, 41 points higher than their overall average.
“They’ve been doing it for a while now those kids — top of our order especially. Really proud of the way they responded.”
Guard second baseman Travis Pirtle went 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI, boosting his average to an absurd .842 in the last five games. Collin Mondrik added a two-run single and a run.
Guard starter A.J. Minter went the distance, striking out six to put him at 104 Ks for the year.
“A.J. didn’t have his cutter today, which has been real effective,” Terry Pirtle said. “I thought he made some good adjustments and got back in there with his fastball and was able to hold it down.”
TAPPS 3A Area Playoff
At Herrington Field
Bullard Brook Hill 11, Katy Faith West 1
Faith West 010 00— 1 4 3
Brook Hill 009 2X— 11 11 0
Chris Riggs, Nick Montalbano (4) and Grant Robinson. A.J. Minter and Kendall Kerns. W – Minter (7-1). L – Riggs. 2B – FW: Shane Donaldson, Jordan Boling. BH: Michael Greening. 3B – BH: JB Moss. HR – BH: Garrett Moore (fourth, one on).
RECORDS — Faith West 17-9; Brook Hill 25-3.
NEXT UP — Lubbock Christian at Brook Hill, 2 p.m. Saturday.