MARBLE FALLS — After finishing the first round of District 25-4A play with a win, the Marble Falls High School baseball team is looking to start the second round with another victory.
The task will be challenging, particularly because the Mustangs (9-11, 3-2 in district) will welcome Hutto (13-6, 3-2 in district), a team that won the first meeting, 9-7.
That game is 7 p.m. Friday at Scearce Baseball Field, 2101 Mustang Drive.
During the previous contest against the Hippos, Marble Falls battled back to tie the game, scoring seven runs in the sixth inning.
Before the Mustangs grabbed bats, head coach David Norwood “challenged their character a little bit,” emphasizing it was time for them to respond.
But he noted his team today is not the same one that began league play with a loss.
In 21 innings Marble Falls has recorded one error, which helps explain why the Mustangs have a winning record after the first five games.
“That’s a huge improvement,” Norwood said. “We still have competition at those spots. We have some reserve players who can step in play.”
Another is their ability to manufacture runs by putting the ball in play, whether that’s with the swing of the bat or laying down a bunt, the Mustangs skipper said.
Perhaps the biggest reason is because coaches have made the right moves at pitcher.
In the 4-3 win against Lake Travis, senior Turner McQuaide (1-0) started the game. He gave up two runs in three innings.
But his teammates scored four runs in the third as junior pitcher Brian Hicks (3-2-1) was warming up in the bullpen.
Hicks threw three scoreless innings and gave up one run in the seventh in the win.
“That has showed our kids that if we play like we’re capable, we can beat anybody,” the coach said.
Still as proud as he is of his players, Norwood said it was time to move forward and focus on the Hippos.
“I think every district game is big,” he said. “I think we’re going in confident.”
The coach believes Hutto and Marble Falls are evenly matched.
Hippo junior pitcher Eythan Lenz (6-0) pitched five innings in Hutto’s win against Lampasas Tuesday.
Freshman Cole Ridgely (1-0) will get the Marble Falls start, but Norwood would not say how many innings Ridgely would be on the mound.
Marble Falls will continue to mix up the pitchers by using more than one through the game in the hopes of keeping opponents off balance.
“It’s how we best match up,” Norwood said. “We want to put kids in situations where they can be successful.”
The coach said a team meeting was called where he told the athletes each of them has a unique role he must perform for the squad to be successful. He’s pleased to see they have responded and have not focused on individual statistics or glory.
“They understand what we’re doing is better for the team,” the coach said.
District 25-4A Standings
Pflugerville Hendrickson 5-0
Marble Falls 3-2
Lake Travis 3-2