Mustangs shake off spring break rust

Nathan Hendrix/The Highlander
Mustangs second baseman Zack Zavala turns and delivers a throw to second base for the first leg of a 4-6-3 double play in Friday's game.





By Nathan Hendrix

Sports Editor

The Marble Falls High School baseball team used the final day of spring break to get back into the baseball mindset with an out-of-district loss to Fredericksburg by a score of 4-2.

In District 17-5A, every team gets a bye week, and the Mustangs' came during spring break. Head coach Russell Reichenbach wanted a refresher before continuing district play on Tuesday.

“We wanted to get a game situation and see live pitching,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we didn't take a full 10 days off from playing an actual game. Fredericksburg is a good program, so hopefully we stay game-ready.”

The Mustangs played competitive defense for five half-innings, but a three-run bottom of the fourth inning cost them the game against the Billies. An inside-the-park home run followed by an RBI double resulted in a 4-0 deficit for the Mustangs entering the top of the fifth inning.

“We can't afford to have that one bad inning,” Reichenbach said. “We have to be locked in first pitch to last pitch. The one inning we take off could come back and bite us. It obviously did tonight.”

The Mustangs responded with two runs in the top of the fifth but failed to produce the additional two runs needed to extend the game.

It's not that they didn't have chances. The Mustangs left eight runners on base – five in scoring position – throughout but couldn't get the timely hits.

“We had some chances to put some runs on the board. It's frustrating,” Reichenbach said. “We need some guys to step up, and hopefully they'll do it on Tuesday.”

Sean Curtis got the Mustangs started in the top of the first inning with a two-out single; he moved to second on a passed ball, but the Mustangs ended with no runs in the inning. In the top of the second, Luke Nail drove a ball to the wall for a one-out single; Chance Haley reached first on a Billies' error that moved Nail to third, but the Mustangs again stalled and stranded the runners.

The Billies opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning when pitcher Dillon Mayberry walked the leadoff batter. Mayberry struck out the next batter and forced an infield fly for the second out, but an RBI single moved the runner across the plate for an early 1-0 lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, Nail doubled again and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Xander Whitted, but back-to-back strikeouts costs the Mustangs another potential run.

Curtis singled in the top of the seventh and the tying run came to the plate, but a flyout removed any necessity for a bottom half of the inning as the Billies came away with a win.

The Mustangs continue district play on Tuesday when they travel to Pflugerville for the first game of a two-game series with the Connally Cougars. The teams will meet in Marble Falls on Friday for the second game. Both teams are winless in district play with a series loss to Rouse.

“Every team is our district is tough,” Reichenbach said. “We can't take anybody lightly. I expect us to compete against those [Connally], and I hope we step up to the challenge.”

First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

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