As of right now — that’d be Wednesday night when this column is due — the Harker Heights baseball team sits in the fourth and final playoff spot in District 8-5A. With one game to go in the first half of the district season, the Knights are one game behind Temple, a team that walked right into the Knights’ home confines and beat them soundly by a score of 9-0.
And while Heights may not have a chance to catch defending district champion Belton and Waco Midway, the two teams currently tied for first in District 8-5A, the Knights have proven that they belong in the conversation with both.
That sounds like a mouthful barely a week after Temple, which began the season 0-10, beat Heights by nine runs.
But Heights will have its chance to avenge its loss to Temple and, ultimately, a top-two seed.
The Knights just can’t have games like they did against the Wildcats as pitcher Chase Stone flummoxed Heights’ hitters.
But if Heights plays like it did against Midway on Friday and against Belton in its district opener the Knights have as good a shot as any at finishing in the top two of District 8-5A.
There is a reason head coach Glenn Cunningham said after the Temple game that the Knights still believed in themselves this season.
Heights, in fact, validated that statement in its next game against Midway.
It isn’t often that a team outhits its opponent by eight and loses, but that is what happened to the Knights on the road against Midway.
And the Knights understand.
Heights had the bases loaded, down one with one out in the seventh, only to hit into a game-ending double play.
It happens in baseball.
But once again, Heights was close with an 8-5A power after holding Belton to just one run after the first inning in the teams’ first meeting.
It is no coincidence that pitchers Caleb Dean and Daniel Cole were heavily involved in both outings as the two have been solid on the mound for the Knights the entire district season.
When the two have run support Heights is as tough of an out as anyone in the district.
And that is what they’ll look to put together in the home stretch of the district season.
Of course, Heights won’t be the only team looking to improve in the second half of league play.
The Temple game — where Heights had a chance to keep pace with Belton and Midway only to fall to a Temple team hungry to move up in the standings itself — was a perfect example that anyone can be a victim on any given night.
But the Temple game was also an example that any team can get hot and factor into the district race.
Temple wasn’t as close as Heights in its games against Belton and Midway but sits in front of the Knights in the standings.
Now, Heights will look to get on a run of its own as the second half gets underway.