Article:    
HS BASEBALL: MHS blanks Permian behind Hallmark’s gem Coach Barry Russell earns 700th career win
4/10/2017 2:39 PM

Warming up in the bullpen prior to Friday’s home game against Odessa Permian, Midland High starter Jaxon Hallmark noticed his slider looked particularly nasty.

So when he took the mound against the Panthers, he didn’t hesitate to break out the looping, frisbee-like pitch early and often. He cruised to a three-hit, 12-strikeout complete game shutout of Permian on 82 pitches and also belted a two-run home run in the Bulldogs’ 8-0 home District 2-6A victory at Zachery Field.

“I was throwing it in the bullpen and (my slider) was moving a lot more than usual,” Hallmark said. “So I told (MHS pitching coach Danny) Neighbors ‘We’re going to that a lot’ and I kept throwing it for strikes and they kept swinging and missing.”

The victory marked MHS head coach Barry Russell’s 700th career win as a high school coach. Five hundred ten of those have come in what is now his 20th season with the Bulldogs (12-12, 6-3 in District 2-6A).

After Tanner Adams led off the game with a single, Hallmark locked into form and didn’t allow another hit to Permian (6-17-1, 1-8 in District 2-6A) until two outs in the top of the fourth.

In the meantime, MHS leadoff hitter Tyler Wade supplied the only run Hallmark needed for the win -- an inside-the-park home run to center field in the bottom of the first.

Wade finished the game 3-for-3 with the home run, a double, two RBI, two runs and a walk.

“It felt pretty great. I’m glad I could help Jaxon out on the mound, get that first run off,” said Wade of his inside-the-park home run, a feat he believes he last accomplished in Little League. “Everybody is starting to hit the ball, which is really good.

Leading 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs finally strung together the all-important two-out hits that Russell had been looking for. Hallmark’s two-run blast to left field -- his third of the year -- made it 4-0 MHS, before Tyler Klattenhoff singled home Sam Bertelson for a 5-0 Bulldog lead.

Four straight two-out hits was the highlight of the inning for MHS and Russell said it was relieving to see his bats come alive in that situation.

“We hadn’t been doing that, we hadn’t gotten the two-out hits, we hadn’t gotten the people-on-base hits,” Russell said. “We’re still fighting it a little bit, but we were better (Friday) and the last three games we’ve been better. We’ve been a lot better getting clutch hits.”

 As Hallmark continued to blow away the Permian hitters, MHS continued to tack on insurance runs. In the sixth, Chris Sims’ RBI double and Michael Hailey’s sacrifice fly to left field made it 7-0. In the sixth, Wade capped the game’s scoring with an RBI double to left-center.

Hallmark went 1-for-3 with the home run, two RBI and a walk, while Jackson Anuszkiewicz and Sims each finished 2-for-3, hitting eighth and ninth respectively in the Bulldogs’ lineup.

Adams had two of the Panthers’ three hits off Hallmark.

Follow Will on Twitter: @Will_MRT

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