Harker Heights began this season with lofty hopes of unseating defending champion Belton and Waco Midway at the top of District 8-5A.
Heights won’t be able to do that when it visits Temple tonight.
But the Knights have worked themselves into position to accomplish plenty in the teams’ second meeting.
“We had to re-evaluate what our goals were and re-establish some new goals,” head coach Glenn Cunningham said Tuesday.
“We’ll work on those now.”
First, and most importantly, Heights has a chance to usurp Temple for third place in District 8-5A with a road win tonight.
But the Knights also have a chance to exact a bit of payback against the Wildcats after a deflating loss in the teams’ first meeting.
Heights was just one game back of Belton and Midway heading into the first game against Temple, in which the Wildcats stunned Heights on its homefield.
Chase Stone was brilliant on the mound, allowing just five hits in a complete-game shutout, while Heights didn’t help itself in a 10-0 loss.
It was just the Knights’ second district loss of the season and the Wildcats’ third win of the season overall.
Temple enters tonight with similar momentum after blowing out Killeen.
And Heights is expecting the Wildcats’ best again tonight. The Knights welcome it in fact.
“It’s going to be an intense game,” sophomore Tyler Torres said. “Really looking forward to having competition. Being able to compete with the other team just makes it a Friday night baseball game.”
Heights will likely send Caleb Dean to the mound. He is coming off a gutsy performance against Ellison a week ago.
The Knights will look to provide Dean with the type of run support they gave Daniel Cole in a 4-0 win against Shoemaker on Tuesday as opposed to the Ellison game, when the top half of the Knights order went hitless until the ninth inning.
But with a 3-1 record in the second half of district play, Heights has found a way to come up with wins when it needed them most.
Now, with playoff positioning on the line, Heights just needs to do it again.
And Cunningham, for one, believes his team is prepared to answer the bell.
“It’ll be a big game Friday night for us,” Cunningham said, “and I think our kids will be up for the challenge.”