As Harker Heights prepares to finish the Killeen ISD gamut in District 8-5A play, the Knights have also run the gamut of emotions in this young district season.
There was the disappointing loss to Belton in the district opener followed by a blowout win against Killeen that same week.
On Tuesday, the Knights sweated out a 3-1 win against Ellison that was tied after six innings.
But the Knights (10-5, 2-1 8-5A) believe they’re better for it in the long run as the roller coaster ride has prepared them for anything.
And with Shoemaker on tap for tonight, Heights expects a barnburner after the Grey Wolves fell behind 6-1 against Killeen before coming up with a nine-run third inning in a win.
“Our kids will have to be ready to play,” Heights head coach Glenn Cunningham said. “We’re going to have to strap it on and know that they’re going to give us their best effort.”
Heights, however, has been playing as one of the best teams in 8-5A since the start of league play and that includes the loss to Belton.
Even in that game, Heights allowed just one run after the first inning, a testament to the talent and poise of freshman pitcher Daniel Cole, both of which were on display again Tuesday against Ellison.
Cole allowed just one run on one hit in the victory, striking out five and walking just two.
“He’s been outstanding all year, and he threw the ball very well,” Cunningham said. “He had command of all three pitches, his changeup, his curveball and then he would pop the fastball in there a little bit, and he pitched well.”
Cunningham was also pleased with the play of the defense behind Cole, which he pinpointed as an area for improvement heading into district play.
In its last two wins against Killeen and Ellison, Heights had no errors.
And Cunningham said the margin of error will be similarly thin against Shoemaker, especially if ace Roberto Delgado is on the mound.
“He’s an outstanding pitcher, got great stuff and when he’s on the mound they’re going to be tough,” Cunningham said.
But the Knights have proven that they are a tough win themselves at this point in the season.
And after a close win against Ellison, Heights believes it is able to do whatever is necessary to keep it that way.