For Caleb Dean, it was just a matter of time.
As the Harker Heights baseball team rounds into shape with district play looming, Dean said the pieces the Knights possess, talented as they are, are beginning to come together.
And it is showing on the field as Heights believes it is playing well with its best baseball ahead of it.
“We have a new team this year, so it just took us a while to get to know each other and just have good camaraderie with each other,” Dean said. “But we’re starting to come together as a team.”
The Knights have come together nicely at the plate, particularly at the top of the lineup, though head coach Glenn Cunningham said he’d like to see more consistency from the top to the bottom of the lineup.
But Cunningham can’t ask for more at the top of the order after Michael Zapata hit .615 this past weekend in the Wolpack Tournament and Tyler Torres hit .642 a week earlier in the Waco ISD Tournament.
Yet as good as its returners have been, Heights has also been getting key contributions from newcomers to the team this season.
One has been Stephen Shaw, one of two Knights who played for Ellison last season.
Cunningham mentioned Shaw as a player who might be able to contribute at the start of the season but said Shaw has been a nice surprise ten games into the season.
Someone else who has been a pleasant surprise is freshman Daniel Cole.
Cunningham praised his pitching and knowledge of the game, and the players are equally excited to have him and Shaw on the team.
“They’re doing great,” Dean said. “We’ve been playing with each other since we were little, so we’ve known them. We knew that they were going to contribute, but they’ve both just been a really good contribution this year.”
And yet, as well as Heights has played to this point, there is plenty of room for improvement.
In fact, Cunningham said one particular improvement is a must.
“Defensively, I think we can be better and we’re going to have to be better if we’re going to compete when the district race starts,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said Heights must eliminate the defensive lapses and be more consistent with its pitching in terms of pounding the strike zone to get ahead of hitters.
But with the Austin Invitational looming before they open league play against defending 8-5A champion Belton, the Knights feel they can achieve their goals if they continue trending upward. As Dean hinted in reference to the rest of the team this season, it may just be a matter of time.