JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School baseball team finished its own Hill Country Mustang Classic with a 2-1-1 record.
The Mustangs defeated Liberty Hill 3-2 and Canyon Lake 15-5, lost to Hutto 9-0 and tied Houston Second Baptist 4-4 to open the season.
The tie against Second Baptist spoke volumes about the Mustangs.
Trailing 4-1 after after three inning, Marble Falls began to rally.
A base hit and aggressive base running allowed the Mustangs to reach third base. Hitting in the gap brought home two runs.
And then R.J. Mintz easily scored from third to tie the game after he stole second and third.
“We did a good job fighting to get back in the game,” Mustangs head coach J.T. Blair said. “We never laid down. Credit our kids for staying in the game and battling, and I was proud of the way we focused and got back in it.”
The Mustangs had the winning run in scoring position in at least two innings. But Second Baptist’s pitching staff used timely strikeouts to force Marble Falls to strand the runners.
So, as proud as he was regarding his team’s effort, Blair emphasized his players must use this game to improve.
“I think we learned a lot about situational work,” he said. “We did some bad things. It’s early in the season. That’s what we got to do, learn from each game.”
Senior pitcher Hunter Dooley pitched all eight innings, recording six strikeouts. At least two of those were for the third out.
“We definitely didn’t want a tie in that situation, but we didn’t get a loss,” he said. “It was a great team effort.”
Blair said the senior pitcher seemed to thrive on the pressure of playing better as the game got longer.
“The further the game went, the more he started locating the ball,” he said. “He was hitting his spots. He was fun to watch.”
Since Dooley pitched the entire game, the pitching staff was able to use two new pitchers for both games Feb. 22 against Liberty Hill and Hutto.
The coach said Second Baptist brought out the best in his players.
“That’s a good team and a great program. They have good players who made big plays,” he said. “(Marble Falls) is a good team and a good program, and we have good players, too.”
Marble Falls plays San Antonio Lee at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 27 to open the Kerrville Tivy tournament, 3250 Loop 534 in Kerrville.