Already ahead of last year’s win total, the Fort Worth Trimble Tech baseball team is using an improved defense to pile up the victories.
“The last couple of years, we’ve struggled to close out games or couldn’t find a way to pull it out,” Bulldogs coach James Reid said. “Already we’ve been able to play some great defense and keep our guys on the mound out of trouble.”
Junior pitcher Eduardo Hernandez (3-3) has a 1.50 ERA with 23 strikeouts, while teammate Angel Valero (3-1) is close behind with a 2.43 ERA and 22 punch-outs.
Admittedly, Tech (10-6, 4-1 District 7-5A) took a setback Friday when Fort Worth Arlington Heights ace Blair Henley tossed his third consecutive no-hitter in a 4-0 win.
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“Overall I was pleased; I mean he was throwing really well and there were not too many high school teams that were going to hit Blair Friday,” Reid said.
Last season’s ace pitcher, Pedro Cuellar (2-5, but 75 strikeouts in 46 innings with a 1.21 ERA), has been used exclusively in the field this season and sports a .500 batting average with 14 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
The last couple of years, we’ve struggled to close out games or couldn’t find a way to pull it out. Already we’ve been able to play some great defense and keep our guys on the mound out of trouble.
Trimble Tech baseball coach James Reid
“Without Pedro throwing, we’ve had some quality starts from our other guys and even Friday we gave up four unearned runs,” Reid said.
Defensive mistakes, though, have been few and far between and the Bulldogs have won three tight games to make an early difference in their season.
Valero leads the team with a .510 batting average and Omar Garcia is hitting .487 with a 1.206 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
Only four weeks remain in the regular season and Euless Trinity has its work cut out if the Trojans want to be part of the postseason.
Trinity bounced back from back-to-back losses with an 11-1 win over Hurst L.D. Bell on Friday to sit fifth in District 7-6A behind Southlake Carroll.
The Trojans, district champions a year ago, will meet Carroll in a two-game series this week, followed by two with Coppell and finally two with Richland.
“That stretch is going to tell us a lot about what kind of team we can be,” Trinity coach Will Averitt said. “It was good for us to bounce back Friday and it’s just seemed like we’ve had such a hot and cold year where we didn’t get many breaks, but we got some Friday.”
Starting left-hander Jordan Roberts combined with Solomon Klimeck to account for a five-inning no-hitter against Bell.
“That was big for Jordan because he had a rough start against Haltom and we had some bad defense over the last couple of games,” Averitt said.
Roberts is 1-3 on the season with a 2.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Usual Tuesday starter Sean McElwee is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA.
Klimeck (2-1, 1.75 ERA) and Kyler Duerson (1-2, 1.54) have been strong out of the bullpen.
Phillip Childs leads the offense, hitting .400 with eight extra-base hits, 13 runs scored and 14 RBIs.
Arlington Heights ace Blair Henley has given up no earned runs in 26 1/3 innings as the Yellow Jackets appear primed for another shot at a deep playoff run.
The idea has been to get him some confidence early on. We want him to throw pitches that he’s comfortable with and use the fastball when it’s needed.
Arlington Heights baseball coach Shad Whiteley on ace Blair Henley
Heights’ pitching staff has a collective 2.80 ERA and a WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 1.15 while averaging just over a strikeout per inning (7.5 per game).
Coach Shad Whiteley said Henley’s success has been born of confidence around pitches outside his mid-90s fastball.
“The idea has been to get him some confidence early on,” he said. “We want him to throw pitches that he’s comfortable with and use the fastball when it’s needed.”
Henley is followed by Josh Soward (2-1, 17 strikeouts, 0.78 ERA) and Peyton Cook (2-0, 2.33 ERA), who has eight strikeouts in nine innings of work.
On a roll
A 2-2 District 5-6A start left the Keller Timber Creek softball team a bit puzzled, but the Falcons have since won four straight.
Timber Creek (16-5, 6-2 5-6A) also improved last week with the return of senior pitcher Caitlin Kneblik.
“We really haven’t had her for two years. She broke her arm in the beginning of last season and returned for the last district game,” coach Laura Moore said. “This year she re-broke her arm in the first week of the season and was just released and pitched really well for us last week.”
Moore says Kneblik will help take the pressure off fellow senior pitcher Kylee Foster.
“They have two totally opposite pitching styles which is a good package. They’re two different pitchers which makes it tough on teams,” Moore said.
Legacy stays focused
With all the rankings out there, coach Amie Prater and Mansfield Legacy don’t want to get caught up in the hype.
The Broncos are 10-0 in District 14-5A and 17-4 overall.
“We don’t want to focus and get caught up in the rankings, get caught up in records,” Prater said. “All that matters is who is No. 1 at the end of the season — the last person to win and that’s it.”
Legacy is coming off victories over Ennis (5-4) and Red Oak (19-2).
“We’re a high-potent offense. We got speed at the top of the lineup, speed at the bottom of the lineup,” Prater said. “Everyone has home run potential.”
Prater hopes for a deep playoff run, which most of the players haven’t experienced.
“Some of these seniors went to the regional final, Reagan [Wright] and Karlie [Milburn] during their freshman year, but the rest of the girls don’t know,” Prater said. “We went to the second round two years ago, lost in the third round last season, which is a lot farther than most people thought we’d go.”
Saginaw on roll
Sophomore Ryann Borg allowed five hits and one run on March 29 as Saginaw defeated first-place White Settlement Brewer 3-1.
The Rough Riders also beat Wichita Falls Rider 10-0 on Friday to improve to 5-3 in District 5-5A softball and 16-9 overall.
Saginaw has scored 30 runs during its three-game winning streak. Freshman Madison Johnson has led the team with seven RBIs during that span.