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BASEBALL: Hawks hit home run, triumph over Tribe

The Mission Oak Hawks score six runs in the fifth inning during their 10-1 defeat of the Tulare Union Tribe

TULARE – Already up 6-0, Gage Hastin hit a home run to score three more runs for the Hawks in the fifth inning.

The Mission Oak Hawks had a huge 10-1 win over the Tulare Union Tribe in the second game of their series on Wednesday, April 26. The fifth inning was the big inning for the Hawks. Already up 4-0 after four innings, the Hawks scored six runs in the fifth including a home run by sophomore Gage Hastin that drove in two runners. Junior Kannon Silva led the defense from the mound and held the Tribe to zero runs after 64 pitches.

“The difference in this game was we hit the ball,” Mission Oak head coach Kevin Break said. “We did a great job on defense, made all the plays.”

The Hawks had already scored two runs in the fifth inning when Hastin stepped up to the plate. Korey Barham and Silva were already on base when Hastin hit it along the third baseline. The home run was just safe from becoming a foul ball when it dropped over the fence and the Hawks picked up another three points to make it 9-0.

According to Break, Hastin has been struggling at the plate lately, so the home run brought back a lot of confidence for him. For the rest of the team, hits can be contagious. The momentum started in the second inning with a double from Chase Break that batted in Silva and Hastin for two runs. It was Silva and Hastin again that scored in the fourth inning. Silva was three for four in hits to lead the Hawks. A double from Eduardo Bravo kicked off the scoring in the fifth as he sent Nick Retiz home.

The Tribe changed pitchers twice in the fifth inning to try and keep up with the Hawks, but they seemed unstoppable. Jacob Prado had pitched the first four innings and was replaced by Aiden Boydston after Bravo’s double. Cole Sappington came in to replace Boydston after he hit two batters in a row and walked in a run.

For the Hawks, Silva stayed calm and collected on the mound. Throwing 34 strikes out of 64 pitches, he trusted his defense to back him up as he faced the Tribe’s batters. With minimal errors from the Hawks’ defense, the Tribe did not score a single run while Silva was on the mound. Senior Nathan Martin came in as relief in the final two innings.

“We’re gonna have [Hastin] on the mound on Friday,” Break said. “He’s our ace. Throw strikes, hit the ball, that’s been our MO right there.”

The Hawks will face the Tribe again on Friday, April 28 to complete their three game series of league play. The Hawks won 15-7 in their first meeting on March 18 and expect to sweep the series on Friday with Hastin on the mound. Their next opponent will be Hanford on May 3. The Hawks are 3-7 in league play and fourth in the West Yosemite League.

“All these teams get better as you go on,” Break said. “It’s going to be different every time you face somebody, so we’re looking to keep the momentum going.”

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