Whatever hangover could have occurred after the Byrd baseball team lost the Southwood series and its District 1-5A lead — it didn’t happen.
The Yellow Jackets opened its final district series Wednesday with a 12-4 win at Haughton after scoring an important 8-1 win against Evangel on Monday.
A Dylan Knotek solo home run started a six-run fifth inning for a 9-1 edge before Zack Flash belted a three-run homer in the sixth.
Byrd (19-13, 9-4) moved back into the district lead over Airline (16-16, 9-4) after the Vikings lost 8-7 to Parkway in 11 innings.
The Yellow Jackets beat the Vikings 2-1 in the opening district series.
“It’s maturity, these guys believe,” said Byrd coach Greg Williams. “They’re coming into their own.
“(Flash) is just a sophomore … and he has a bright future ahead of him. Knotek has so much experience, and he’s been doing so many different things for us. He’s a great teammate and a guy you love to see do well.”
Byrd pitcher Jeep Henderson got the win with one unearned run on three hits in four innings.
The Yellow Jackets scored their first run on one of four Haughton errors, but the Bucs responded with a Seth Ryan RBI in the third inning. Ryan drove in all four Bucs runs on a 2-for-3 night.
Byrd scored two fourth-inning runs on an error and a decoy steal play that brought in Chance Cole from third base.
After Knotek’s home run in the fifth, Eric Miller and Flash knocked in runs before the last three runs scored on errors and walks.
Haughton coach Glenn Maynor, whose Bucs started 6-3, said he’s not seeing the necessary improvement from his young team.
“We haven’t gotten the big hits when we’ve needed them,” Maynor said. “We allowed Byrd way too many free runners, and we don’t give ourselves a chance to win.
“We have good games here and there, but we just hadn’t played very well.”
Six of Byrd’s 12 runs were unearned and Haughton walked or hit eight batters.
Haughton had chances to cut more into the lead, including a bases-loaded, no outs situation in the fifth inning in which the Bucs scored just one run on a Ryan single.
Byrd reliever Andrew Suggs dug himself out of a hole with three consecutive strikeouts.
Haughton loaded the bases again in the sixth with one out, but a Ryan RBI-single yielded just one run against reliever
Flash’s home run sealed the deal for Byrd in the seventh with a 12-2 lead.
“The Southwood series was a spark for us, and I think the Evangel game triggered this one for us,” Flash said. “The bats have been popping well, and every game is big now.”