The day of the high school baseball player really begins around 4 p.m., once classes are over and they begin practice or typical game-day preparations.
Because of that trend, Thursday’s 1 p.m. start for the District 7-4A game between Fort Worth Arlington Heights and Fort Worth South Hills was something like any early-morning activity — sluggish.
Heights, undefeated in district play, eventually woke up, leading to a 4-2 win at South Hills High School.
“It’s kind of more laid back, but we still have to stay focused,” Heights senior shortstop Blake Clark said of the early start because of spring break.
Searching for its first district win, South Hills (5-7, 0-3 District 7-4A) jumped on inconsistent pitching from Heights’ starter Dalton Brown in the first inning, scoring the first run of the game from a sacrifice fly to center.
After the opening-inning struggles, however, Brown settled into a nearly perfect outing, holding the Scorpions hitless for the next 4 2/3 innings.
Through those middle frames, the Heights’ bats came alive, scoring a run in the second and third innings and two in the sixth.
While directly responsible for only one of those runs, an RBI single in the sixth, Clark led Heights’ offense, going 3-for-4 with three singles.
“He’s got a great approach. He didn’t give at-bats away,” coach Shad Whiteley said.
Heights (9-9, 3-0 7-4A) strung together its best offensive inning in the sixth, hitting three singles in a row, followed by a sacrifice fly by sophomore second baseman Josh Soward.
In six innings, Brown allowed two runs on three hits before he was spelled in the seventh by sophomore Blair Henley, who picked up the save.
“This group, more than groups in the past, we’re struggling with keeping focused,” Whiteley said. “The talent is there. If we grind it out mentally we’re pretty good.”