MARBLE FALLS — The grins on the faces of Marble Falls High School baseball fans, players and coaches shined brightly at Scearce Baseball Field Tuesday.
That’s because the Mustangs (9-11, 3-2 in District 25-4A play) finally earned a win that has been a long time coming for head coach David Norwood’s bunch.
IN PHOTO: Marble Falls High School senior pitcher Turner McQuaide fires away from the mound Tuesday, April 6 in a District 25-4A matchup with the Lake Travis Cavaliers. Marble Falls won, 4-3. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
The Mustangs beat Lake Travis, 4-3, allowing Marble Falls to be in no worse than third place after the first round of district play.
For fans, the win means the Mustangs finally got a giant monkey off their backs. The victory marks the first time in at least five years Marble Falls has beaten Lake Travis in baseball.
Norwood noted the importance of the win, citing his team has come close several times.
“It’s big for this team,” he said. “And it’s big for the season in remaining in the playoff hunt.”
His instructions to the players were simple, he said.
“I told the kids, ‘If we can put the ball in play, we have a chance to win,'” he said. “We need to throw strikes and make routine plays.”
Facing a 2-0 deficit in the second inning, senior Brent Franques laid down a RBI sacrifice bunt to trim the lead in half.
Then in Marble Falls took control of the contest in the third.
Senior Justin Garcia led off with a single. Senior Cooper Bowen walked. Senior Thomas Nichols hit a single to load the bases. Senior Turner McQuaide hit a sacrifice flyball for an RBI to score Garcia.
Sophomore Derek Steffek grounded out but advanced the runners. Sophomore Zed Woerner hit a flyball, causing the center and right fielders to run into each other and leading to two more runs.
The Mustangs scored in all sorts of ways, proving Norwood’s philosophy about finding a way generate runs is on target.
“In five years I don’t know if I’ve seen a group of kids battle harder at the plate,” he said. “We feel like if we put the ball in play, we put pressure on the defense.”
As the Mustangs were earning their runs, junior pitcher Brian Hicks was in the bullpen warming up.
Hicks came in and shut down the Cavaliers.
The junior said he knew Lake Travis would be fired up in the seventh inning. But he was determined to finish what he and his teammates started in the third and not let this win get away.
In fact, Marble Falls made the Cavaliers strand two runners in the seventh.
Norwood said the Mustangs’ determination was plain to see from the dugout.
“The most important thing was to relax and let them play,” he added. “We wanted the kids to relax.”
Senior pitcher Turner McQuaide (1-1) picked up the win, while Hicks (3-2-2) earned the save.
Originally, coaches wanted to use three pitchers against Lake Travis.
“Turner gave us three solid innings,” Norwood said. “We came in with Brian.”
He noted the junior was throwing so well, it was easy to allow him to finish.