The Pike Central Hawks won their first district championship since winning back to back titles in 2005-06 behind a strong pitching performance from junior Mac Justice and Central held on to beat Belfry 4-3 Tuesday night. Justice pitched 6 strong innings allowing 2 hits while striking out 10 and walking only 2 batters.
Pike Central jumped on the Pirates in the third inning scoring 4 runs on 4 hits. Mac Justice got the rally started in the third for the Hawks when he sent a line drive in the right-centerfield gap for a double. Brad Elkins followed by reaching on an error sending Seth Conn, who entered the game as a courtesy runner for Justice, to third and the Hawks had runners on the corners with 1 out. Hunter Clark hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Conn from third, and the Hawks led 1-0.
Andrew Fields followed with another double to left-center scoring Brad Elkins from first base. Dylan Wright then singled to right scoring Fields. Wright advanced to second on the throw home. Charlie Cokley reached on an error and Wright advance to third bringing Caleb Godsey to the plate. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Godsey lined a single to right scoring Fields giving the Hawks a 4-0 lead.
Belfry finally got on the scoreboard in the 6th inning. Garrett Fannin led off the inning with a walk and Joey Duty followed by getting hit by a Justice fastball. With runners on the corners, Reed Williamson singled driving Fannin in from third and Justice struck out the next two Pirate hitters to get out of the inning giving up only one run.
Central went down in order in the top of the 7th. Belfry wasn’t finished as they came to bat in the bottom of the 7th with a comeback on their mind. Jacob Francisco led off the inning and reached on an error by second baseman Dylan Wright. Caleb Stanley then flew out ot right and the Pirates were down to their final two outs. Keaton Taylor singled and Garret Fannin walked bring Joey Duty to the plate. Duty doubled to right scoring Taylor and Fannin, and the Pirates were within one run. Charlie Cokley came on in relief to get the final two Pirate hitters to fly out and the Hawks started celebrating their 4-3 win.