Texarkana Pleasant Grove baseball outlasts Melissa in 8 innings, 4-2

MOUNT PLEASANT—Jarod Bayless hit a two-run RBI single with two outs in the top of the 8 inning as defending state champion Texarkana Pleasant Grove outlasted Melissa in game 1 of the Class 3A Region II Final at Northeast Texas Community College.  Casey Rayburn and Ty Harp both scored. 

Melissa right fielder Garrett Vestal made a diving attempt but the ball fell just in front of him in shallow right. 

Rayburn led off the inning with a walk.  Harp followed with a single.  Dylan Silvey and Trey Jeans followed with strikeouts before Bayless 2-RBI game winner.

Pleasant Grove led 1-0 in the second inning but trailed much of the night.

Harp scored in the top of the 6th inning to tie the game.  Harp led off with a single and reached second as Melissa was slow retrieving the ball in shallow left.  A wild pitch moved Harp to third.  Trey Jeans later hit into a double play but Harp scored from 3.

Pleasant Grove senior Dalton Willige pitched a complete game 3-hitter and struck out five in the victory.  Willige was sharp throughout with the lone exception being the 3 inning when he allowed two hits and walked two.  Willige is now 4-0 in the post-season. 

Melissa (29-9-1) took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 3 inning when Camden Duzenack hit a 2-run homer over the left field wall on a 2-2 count.  Duzenack provided the lone extra base hit in the game. 

Cruce pitched seven strong innings to lead Melissa but did not factor into the decision.  Cruce struck out five and allowed five hits.  Landon Wilson replaced Cruce to start the 8 inning.  Melissa pitchers combined to strike out seven. 

Harp and Bayless each finished 2 for 4.  Pleasant Grove (26-12) is now 7-1 in the post season and one win away from reaching the state tournament for the 6 consecutive season.  

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