Harker Heights head coach Glenn Cunningham said his team doesn’t believe in moral victories.

But there was plenty to be encouraged about Tuesday after the Knights went toe to toe with defending district champion Belton in a 4-1 loss at Tiger Field.

“It was a very good high school baseball game,” Cunningham said. “It was well played, well pitched, it was just one of those where we happened to come out on the short end.”

In his first loss of the season, freshman Daniel Cole showed why Cunningham has spoken highly of him from Day 1 this season.

Pitching in his first District 8-5A game, Cole retired 11 straight at one point as Heights (8-5-1, 0-1 8-5A) gave up just one run after the first inning.

“Our freshman Daniel Cole was excellent,” Cunningham said. “He pitched good enough to win. It’s a shame we didn’t give him a little more run support.”

That Heights was unable to come up with runs was a deviation from the way the rest of its season has gone as the Knights entered the game swinging the bats well.

“(Pitcher Jared) Janczak had a lot to do with that,” Cunningham said of the TCU signee, “he’s a great pitcher.”

While Heights isn’t taking solace in staying close with the defending district champs, Tuesday did confirm what the Knights have believed all season.

“We feel like we’ve got a good team,” Cunningham said. “To play well against a team the caliber of Belton certainly gives us some confidence knowing that we can play with the best of them.”

Now, heading into a showdown with rival Killeen today, Heights is simply hoping to continue playing well early in District 8-5A play.

Only this time, the Knights hope to see that play result in a win rather than a close loss — as encouraging as that loss Tuesday may have been.

“We’ve got to build on that momentum,” Cunningham said. “We can’t back up.”

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

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