ABILENE, TX — Explosive offense right out of the gate and spectacular work on the mound just granted the Wall Hawks another trip to the UIL State Tournament. In Game 2 of the Regional Final matchup at Abilene Christian University between the Wall Hawks and the Brock Eagles, Wall hammered away and left Brock wondering what happened on a day when the Hawks ran away with it 11-0.
Wall kicked events off in the top of the 1st inning with six runs. Everyone in the lineup received their chance at the plate in an inning that decided the game early. After Brock put out Kellen Oliver at the lead-off position, seven Hawks would step up to bat before the Eagles managed another out. Luke Kemp, Gunnar Dillard, Dylan Gidney, Will Scherr, Hagyn Barbee, Caleb Braden, and Augden Hallmark all made splashes in the 1st inning on the Hawks' way to a 6-0 advantage.
Brock battled back with hits in the bottom of the 1st and 2nd innings, but Kemp put on a stellar performance on the mound to get Wall out of both innings. On the day when the young man turned 17, Kemp showed just how dangerous he could be with the ball in his hands. Kemp struck out the side on more than one occasion to keep Brock yearning to get back in the game.
“Luke was Luke,” Head Coach Schniers said after the game. “What a performance he had for us. It was nothing that I or his teammates didn’t expect because that’s what he’s done all year for us. He gives us a chance to win every time he steps on the mound. He competes, throws strikes, and we play well behind him.”
The Hawks added one run in the 4th and 6th innings before exploding with three more in the 7th to take an 11-0 advantage heading to the final frame. Kemp took to the mound for the final time to finish his complete game, and earn the Hawks a Regional Championship. Brock may have been the favorite coming into the series, but Wall silenced all critics with back-to-back beatdowns of the Eagles, 6-2 and 11-0. The dominant performance will be remembered as this great rivalry continues to grow deeper with every year.
This particular series meant a lot to Wall’s Skipper, who earlier this year announced his retirement at the end of the season. “I’m super proud of these boys. I challenged them back in March when I told them that this would be my last year coaching, saying that we were going to go out the right way.,” Schniers said.
“We’re going to play for one another and not let anything be a distraction. That day [of the retirement announcement] was a difficult day for them,” Schniers continued, “By no means is this about me, but that day I challenged these kids to stick together and told them I was committed to them 100% until the end of the season. And we’re still playing.”
This year could be the storybook ending that Schniers and the rest of the Hawks would be grateful as the ultimate conclusion of his career. The Hawks have two more games to win before they can hoist that State Championship one more time and send the coach off with smiles.
Wall now heads to the State Tournament at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The State tournament brings together the four Regional Champions in a 1-game series semifinal and state championship game. The semifinal games are scheduled for Friday, June 9, at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. The winners of the semifinal games will play each other on Saturday, June 10, at 9 a.m. The bracket and announcements can be found on the UIL’s Baseball page here.
The four teams that make the state tournament are seeded according to their winning percentage. The team with the highest winning percentage receives the 1-seed, and the order continues to the 4-seed. The 1-seed will play either the 3-seed or the 4-seed. This is determined by a drawing that will happen on Saturday evening, June 3. The 2-seed will play whoever the 1-seed does not draw. Updates will follow Wall’s matchup announcement.