JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School baseball team is in the Class 4A playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
The Mustangs (21-7, 13-5) earned more wins this season than they have in the past several years, all under the direction of new head coach J.T. Blair.
While players and coaches are happy with the win total, they also realize they must play their best baseball now.
And they’ve had two weeks to prepare for Austin LBJ (14-11-2, 9-3), the District 26-4A third-place squad.
Game 1 is 7 p.m. May 3 at Scearce Baseball Field on the Marble Falls High School campus, 2101 Mustang Drive; Game 2 is noon May 4 at at the Toney Burger Center, 3200 Jones Road in Austin and Game 3, if necessary, will follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.
In many ways, the two opponents are similar, Blair said.
“They’re a good, well-coached team,” he said. “They have a good pitching staff, a good, solid pitching staff.”
The Jaguar pitching staff boasts of two senior pitchers, Zacharie Johnson and Nate Hattersley, and junior Tristan Burt. All three are team captains.
Johnson is a right-handed pitcher and infielder, while Hattersley and Burt are left-handed hurlers. Other pitchers include sophomores Daniel Weinberg and Ben Reiden.
Johnson leads the Austin area with a .543 batting average that includes two home runs, 12 doubles, three triples and 33 RBIs.
As a team, LBJ bats .316 with eight home runs and averages seven runs a contest.
Blair compared the Jaguars to one District 25 opponent.
“Cedar Park, because they had the good left-handed pitcher,” he said.
Still, the Mustangs are already used to playing three-game series thanks to a change in the District 25-4A format that was implemented at the beginning of this season.
While LBJ has played in 12 district games, Marble Falls has won 13 district contests. And did it all without a bye in six weeks.
So Marble Falls has enjoyed the chance to rest the past 14 days.
“We needed that time off,” the coach said. “We needed that kind of a break. I think it’s been good for us. We’ve had good intersquads, our pitchers got to rest a little bit.”
Blair pronounced the Mustangs healthy for the playoffs.
“That’s always good,” he said. “Everybody misses playing; we’re all anxious to get back on the field and play.”