In only its second year as a program, Hough will play in the 4A regional finals after defeating I-Meck foe Mallard Creek 4-2 in the fourth round of the playoffs Wednesday.
With the game being postponed because of storms Tuesday night, the Huskies (21-10) were able to bring ace pitcher Brandon Gragilla onto the mound.
Despite being on short rest, having pitched against South Caldwell Friday, the 6-foot-5 junior left-hander, who’s 11-1 for the year, had another strong performance.
“He wanted it tonight,” said Hough coach Jimmy Cochran. “He did what he’s done all year for us.”
But Gragilla had a slow start, allowing the first Maverick batter he faced in the game, Jamel Harbison, to lead off with a triple. After the Huskies got the next two batters out, Kyle Bynum drove in Harbison to get Mallard Creek (20-9) the early 1-0 lead.
But Hough answered in its next outing, as A.J. Girting, who reached first on a walk to start the second inning, was driven in by a Nick Daddio single to tie the game.
In the top of third, the Huskies got the lead when Jared Sobo scored off a Johnny Piedmonte sacrifice fly. Daddio would go on to again score Girting.
Mallard Creek’s David Folk scored in the bottom of the inning, but Hough would add to its buffer in the fourth, when Eric Siler reached home off a Maverick error at first base.
Gragilla, whose only lost of the year came against the Mavericks, was glad to get the key win.
“It’s a great accomplishment to get this far,” he said. “Our team has done a good job. It feels good.”
Hough will face East Forsyth in the best-of-three, home-and-away state semifinal series, which begins Thursday.
“It’s amazing,” said Cochran. “I’m happy beyond belief for my guys. Last year we struggled and it wasn’t really a fun experience for our guys, but they stuck it out and came back hungry. It’s paid off.”