FRISCO — With its season on the line, Highland Park came through in the clutch on Friday night.
Jon Skidmore hit a three-run home run and Layne Looney struck out 11 in a complete-game effort as the Scots held off Frisco Wakeland 5-2 at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
With the win, HP evened the Class 4A Region II bi-district playoff series, forcing a third and deciding game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Scotland Yard.
“They wanted it and came out pumped up,” said HP head coach Travis Yoder. “Our kids could have folded, but they did everything they needed to do.”
Saturday’s game will be a chance for the Scots to avoid being ousted in the first round of the playoffs for a second straight year, after falling to Prosper in three games last season. Perhaps more importantly, it will provide an opportunity for revenge against Wakeland, which eliminated HP three straight years in 2010, 2011, and 2012, each time in a close Game 3.
In Friday’s win, the Scots (21-12) bounced back with a first-inning run after Wakeland’s Austin Gehle threw a no-hitter in Game 1 on Thursday. Cooper Chaltas got HP started with a triple and later scored on a groundout.
Skidmore, who has verbally committed to Baylor, provided a cushion in the top of the fourth inning with a three-run homer to left off Wakeland relief pitcher Andrew Davis. Skidmore finished with two of the Scots’ four hits in the game.
Looney, who has pitched four no-hitters this season, kept his unbeaten record intact, but not before running into trouble in the late innings.
With the exception of a third-inning jam, Looney cruised through the first five innings. In the bottom of the sixth, the Wolverines (23-10) scored an unearned run on a single by Grant Devore.
The next inning, Looney issued three of his six walks, which led to another Wakeland run, before getting Seth Mullis on a fly out to center field with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Looney – who remained in the game after being hit by a line drive in his throwing arm in the fourth inning – tossed a season-high 136 pitches.
“He competed and that’s what he does,” Yoder said. “I have faith in him shutting the door. There was never an inkling that I was going to take him out.”
Wakeland will likely turn to its ace, Cameron Yates, to start Game 3 on Saturday. HP hasn’t announced a starting pitcher yet after using Looney and Ryan Buss in the first two games of the series.