Jacob Mitchell has settled into his role as a starting pitcher for Harker Heights.
The senior tossed a complete game Tuesday at home against Shoemaker, allowing just one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out nine in a 3-1 victory for the Knights.
Mitchell improved to 2-1 on the mound in District 8-6A play, and he credited the coaching staff and the defense of Harker Heights for his success.
“I always come out confident because my coaches call a great game,” Mitchell said. “In the beginning, I struggled a little bit with the zone. But I knew I had a great defense behind me, so I just needed to settle down and find it.”
Tuesday’s tilt didn’t start off in dazzling fashion, however, as Mitchell struggled to find the strike zone and hit two batters in the top of the first inning. But he quickly settled in and struck out two while stranding two Grey Wolves base runners to get out of the frame unscathed, and he coasted into the seventh inning.
It was then he would run into trouble for just the second time. After sitting in the dugout during a long bottom half of the sixth, Shoemaker’s Auston Christoff led off with a looping single to left field before Jesus Encarnacion reached on an error.
Both runners advanced on a groundout to third by Dontoneo Williams, and Mitchell unleashed a wild pitch to allow the runner from third to score.
After Khenan Meriwether drew a walk to put the tying run on for the Grey Wolves with one out, Mitchell got a strikeout and induced a weak grounder back to the mound to end the threat, and the Knights held on for a two-run win.
The home half of the sixth was extensive because Harker Heights (6-11-1, 3-2 8-6A) scored each of its three runs in the inning, and the Knights came out in the seventh a little stagnant.
“It cooled us off a little bit,” Mitchell said. “We came out on our heels a bit in the seventh, but we got it done and that’s what is important.”
Daniel Cole, who was 2 for 3 at the plate in the contest, led off the bottom of the sixth for Harker Heights with a double to deep center. After a strikeout, Cole stole third and eventually scored on a wild pitch on ball four to Tre Martin, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead.
Later in the frame, a two-base error in left by Shoemaker (2-14, 0-5) allowed Martin and courtesy runner Kainoa Rillera to score to put Harker Heights up 3-0.
Jose Hernandez took the loss on the hill for the Grey Wolves. He threw six innings and surrendered three runs — one earned — on three hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Harker Heights is scheduled to finish its two-game set with the Grey Wolves tonight at 7 p.m. at Shoemaker.