Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rush Hixon prepares to release a pitch to home. Hixon threw a complete-game three hitter against Macon Easton on Tuesday. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Rush Hixon prepares to release a pitch to home. Hixon threw a complete-game three hitter against Macon Easton on Tuesday. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Hixon’s big day on the mound, at the plate powers Pike past Macon-East Montgomery

A smile on Rush Hixon’s face is not an uncommon thing, but his ear-to-ear grin Tuesday afternoon told all one needed to know about Pike Liberal’s day against Macon-East Montgomery.

Hixon went 3-for-4 at the plate, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, and threw seven shutout innings on the mound. The junior allowed just three hits, while striking out seven Knight batters, in seven innings of work as Pike beat Macon-East 4-0 at Butch Austin Field Tuesday afternoon.

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“I had shoulder surgery in the fall, and I am just blessed to be out here,” Hixon said. “I had my location going today, and my curveball was on point. I was able to keep the off balance, and help the team get a win.”

Hixon extended his season-long hitting streak with a bunt single in the top of the fourth inning, but wasn’t content with just one base knock. In his last two plate appearances of the day, Hixon roped singles in to left field to polish off a three-hit day.

Hixon has quietly put up a batting average over.500 through the early part of the season, and is trying to achieve a personal goal.

“I have goals for myself, and one of them this year was to try to get a hit in every game,” said Hixon. “So far it has worked out, but I’m a baseball player, so I don’t want to jinx it. I just try to put the ball in play to help the team, and it just finds a hole sometimes.”

Hixon was part of a big third inning that saw Pike plate three runs to break open a close game. Chandler Avant walked to start off the inning, and was moved around on one of Hixon’s singles.

Brian Adams doubled in Hixon later in the inning, and Drew Starling picked up an RBI on a hot grounder that was misplayed by the Macon shortstop.

Butch Austin, Pike Liberal Arts head coach, said his team is playing with more confidence.

“Everyone is starting to swing at better pitches, and to put more balls in play,” said Austin. When you are hitting well, it helps the kids play better because they are more confident in every part of the game. We are really playing well right now.”

The win gave Pike its first region win of the season, and earned the Pats a special prize from Austin.

“I’m going to give the boys the day off tomorrow (Wednesday),” said Austin. “They are tired and I’m tired. We are going to get ready for our tournament this weekend, and just let them relax.”

Pike opens the Jonah McWaters Tournament Thursday morning at 10 a.m., and will play two games on the first day.