TEXARKANA, Texas — A sound start has become nothing out of the ordinary for one team.
Pleasant Grove baseball, rich in its winning tradition, is off to a good start. The Hawks (9-4, 1-0) are ranked fourth in the State of Texas in Class 4A.
In its first District 15-4A game on March 10, Pleasant Grove run-ruled Pittsburg, 12-2, at Hawk Field. Head coach Riley Fincher is in his sixth year at the helm.
"We are getting really good pitching performances from our starters and relievers," Fincher said. "We're doing a really good job at the plate swinging the bats. We've been able to manufacture a lot of runs and hold teams down with our pitching staff.
"We have a lot of first-year varsity players that are getting a lot of action. If we are able to continue the season, which we feel that we will be able to do, it is going to benefit those first-year players."
Tucker Anderson, Alex Galvan and David Singleton are starting pitchers for the Hawks. Coming out of the bullpen in relief are Braden Hlavinka, Brayden Solida, Nathan Hutcheson and Carson Rhodes.
Jackson Cobb, who missed some games due to injury, is leading Pleasant Grove in hitting. Cobb already has four home runs this season.
"Jackson looks so locked in at the plate," Fincher said. "He is really comfortable and has started the season out on a tear."
Hlavinka is another one of the Hawks' top hitters. Hlavinka missed last year due to an injury, but he is back and is batting at the top of the order. Marshall Cox, designated hitter, leads Pleasant Grove in RBI and is second in home runs.
The Hawks' Anderson is hitting over .600 in his last four games.
"Tucker is squaring the ball up as hard as anyone has for us," Fincher said. "We have a sophomore, Brock Bearden, who can hit for power and average. He can drive the ball in the gap or lay down a bunt. Brock has great speed and can make things happen when he gets on base. Everyone else is definitely contributing in one way or another, and it's great to see them playing as a team."
Pleasant Grove is anxiously looking forward to pushing the play button after the coronavirus paused the baseball season.
"We try to be proactive with any situation that arises," Fincher said. "When the halt of play was announced on Saturday, we were able two tournament games. In talking about it, some of the players were emotional, and I was emotional.
"We talked about it today. We told the kids that athletics teaches them to respond to many different situations. The kids are able to adjust on the fly. This is just another opportunity for these guys to show what kind of young men that they are in responding to these situations. Regardless of what happens, I know these guys are going to do great things. They are going to keep putting in the effort and work. We are going to hold out hope that everyone stays safe and healthy and that the team gets to continue the season."
Senior Ben Harmon has not been able to play due to injury. Harmon is the most vocal leader on the team and attends every game.
"Ben told me, 'Coach, I feel like I am worrying more about the game by not playing. I am sitting in the dugout and seeing everything that happens,'" Fincher said. "He is locked into the game trying to help everyone out. Although he can't play now, he has been a huge leader for us by the way he handles situations."