Baseball insider: Arlington High, Southlake Carroll pitchers peaking

Posted Friday, Apr. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Before his senior season began, Arlington High School pitcher Omar Salinas’ main focus was to increase his leg strength. The right-hander took a few early lumps, but he’s peaking at the right time.

As District 3-5A plays draws to a close Friday, Salinas has allowed just three earned runs in 35 innings of 3-5A play for a sparkling 0.60 ERA

“I almost feel like if I hit my spots, I’m unstoppable,” Salinas said. “I feel like everything is working.”

Salinas (6-2 for the season) has 56 strikeouts in district play. In his last two games, against Weatherford and Fort Worth Paschal, he fanned 16 and 14 batters respectively. Great control is his biggest asset, which includes throwing a cutter and changeup for strikes.

“He works real hard in [the weight room] and he’s much stronger than he’s been the last couple of years,” coach David Nix said. “Of course, he’s older, but he’s allowed himself to finish games, whereas last year, I don’t believe he had a complete game.”

Carroll ace throws no-no

Southlake Carroll starting pitcher Ben Leeper threw another quality game Tuesday, allowing just two hits with 10 strikeouts in a 4-0 Dragon win.

But it wasn’t even his best outing of the month.

It was a good thing Carroll plated its 10th run in the bottom of the fifth to end its April 15 game against Justin Northwest, for the sake of Leeper.

Neither coach Larry Hughes nor Leeper realized that the junior ace was carrying a no-hitter when Hughes told the pitcher he would let other pitchers get some work in the sixth inning.

When the game drew to a close, Leeper realized his accomplishment.

“It felt great,” Leeper said. “Without the defense and the catcher and the pitch calling, it wouldn’t have been anything. All of the credit goes to them. It was a great feeling.”

The Stanford commit struck out eight and walked three in the no-hit effort that was recorded because of the 10-run deficit after five innings. The final score was 10-0.

Hughes was also glad the game was called. He said he would never pull a pitcher who had a no-hitter on the line.

“I didn’t know, and I would never take a kid out of a game that’s got a no-hitter going knowingly, because I was a pitcher, too, and I know how hard it is,” he said.

With everything working out, celebrations were possible among everyone involved with the accomplishment.

“They were very happy,” Leeper said. “Coaches were giving everyone hugs. It was a great feeling.”

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