Baseball Playoff Preview: Hebron vs. Keller

Hawks look to continue hot postseason play

The Hawks will face the Keller Indians in the Region I Quarterfinals in Game 1 of a potential three-game series May 19.

Hebron is coming off a close series against Southlake Carroll last week, winning the first game 4-1 and squeezing out a 2-1 victory in the second game to advance. In the second game, the Hawks were led by junior pitcher Zach Deloach, who had a dominant performance. Deloach totaled 10 strikeouts, allowing only one run and five hits in the victory.

Southlake Carroll eliminated Hebron from the playoffs in the second round last year. Having been a part of the varsity squad last year, senior first baseman Jarrett Farley said that revenge felt good, but the team needs to stay focused.

“Beating Southlake was about as sweet a victory as they come, but as much as we wanted to celebrate all week we also have big dreams of celebrating in June,” Farley said. “Our mindset heading into the Keller series isn’t different from any other. We know what we want, and everyone else is just trying to take what’s ours, so we’re slamming the foot on the gas, and going nowhere but forward.”

Coach Steve Stone said he was enthusiastic about defeating Southlake Carroll, but knows a bigger challenge lies ahead against Keller.

“It’s always exciting to advance in the playoffs, and to beat a good team like Southlake made it even more special,” Stone said. “I know the kids enjoyed it, but they’ve got another tough one this week against Keller. I think they’ve got bigger goals. When work habits match high goals, it usually translates into something special.”

Coming from different districts can make the matchup against Keller tough, but the Hawks know what to expect against the Indians.

“They’re a very deep team,” Stone said. “They have a strong tradition in baseball and made the regional finals last year and got a lot of those same players back. They’re deep in pitching, they’ve got three or four really good hitters and they expect to win. So we’ve got to play well to win.”

Keller went 26-8 in the regular season, and swept Colleyville Heritage in the second round to advance. Senior outfielder Evan Alexander acknowledged the talent that Keller possesses and what it will take to win the series.

“They have quite a few big bats in their lineup,” Alexander said. “Their catcher, first baseman and shortstop are college signees and draft prospects. We have to take it one game at a time and we can’t look too far ahead. Keller is a good team, but so are we. We’re confident we can win if we just play our game.”

Hebron defeated Keller earlier in the year during a scrimmage, but Farley said the team can’t depend on their past success.

“We know they’re gonna come to play, we know they like to be aggressive on the bases and occasionally like to play small ball,” Farley said. “We all don’t want this season to end, so we’re pretty focused on staying hungry, and playing each inning like it’s our last. Whatever the circumstances, we will be prepared.”

The series begins at 7 p.m. on May 19 at Dallas Baptist University. Game 2 starts at 4:30 p.m. on May 20, with Game 3 (if necessary) following at 6:30 p.m. on May 21.