MARBLE FALLS — Despite falling, 10-5, to Pflugerville Hendrickson Thursday, Marble Falls High School head baseball coach David Norwood was encouraged.
First, his Mustangs (8-11 overall, 2-2 in District 25-4A) answered every time the Hawks scored.
Second, they did not commit an error, forcing the Hawks to earn all 10 runs.
And third, Marble Falls did not back down from the seventh-ranked team in Class 4A, Norwood said.
“We know they’re very good,” he said. “They have really good pitching, they hit their spots and change speeds.”
Hendrickson took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. But the Mustangs answered with two runs of their own.
Sophomore Zed Woerner was hit by a pitch. Fellow sophomore Derek Steffek hit a double to right field. Woerner later scored on a wild pitch. Junior Will Shirey laid down a bunt, scoring Steffek.
Hendrickson scored three more in the fourth. Marble Falls added a run in its half of the inning when senior Thomas Nichols hit a double and Steffek followed with an RBI double to trim the lead, 6-3.
The Mustangs matched the Hawks’ two runs in the sixth with two of their own.
Senior Cooper Bowen hit a single and later stole a base. Senior Turner McQuaide walked and later scored. Nichols hit an RBI single.
Hendrickson added two runs in the seventh then turned a double play, giving the Mustangs only one chance to score five runs to tie.
Norwood was happy with the work at the plate.
“I thought we had some really quality at bats,” he said. “I was extremely proud of how the kids handled it.”
The coach credited the Hendrickson batters for being productive.
“Every time we answered, they answered back,” he said. “I thought our kids played a very good game.”
Steffek (1-3) was the starting pitcher. He gave up three earned runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Junior Brian Hicks pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up six hits, five earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and one hit by a pitch. Senior Justin Garcia pitched the final inning, giving up three hits, two earned runs, one walk and one strikeout.
“We were going to go soft then hard,” Norwood said. “Derek has a great changeup. But tonight he didn’t have it. He was behind and they made him pay for.”
While the wind may bother some teams, Norwood said the Mustangs were happy to have it because of outfielders Bowen, Garcia and Nichols.
“We have three very athletic outfielders,” he said. “Let them run under ball and make a play.”
About the only fault he found was in the sixth inning.
“It was a situation where (Hendrickson) made a base-running mistake, and we weren’t able capitalize on it and get an out,” the coach said.
Now the Mustangs prepare to face Lake Travis 7 p.m. Tuesday at Scearce Baseball Field, 2101 Mustang Drive.