After his team fell for just the second time this district season, losing 9-0 to Temple on Tuesday, Harker Heights head coach Glenn Cunningham was eager for his team to put the loss behind it and not just because it visits first-place Waco Midway tonight.
“Not just Midway,” Cunningham said. “Midway’s coming up, but there’s a lot more baseball left.
“And if we come out with the attitude that we had tonight and not mentally ready to play, then there’s a lot of people that are going to beat us.”
After playing defending champion Belton close in the district opener — allowing just one run after the first inning — Heights had been perfect in league play, building a 3-1 district record that included lopsided wins against Killeen and Shoemaker.
Just four days after defeating Shoemaker 10-0 on the road, Heights hosted a Temple team that was 2-12 on the season.
But the Wildcats’ only two district losses came at the hands of Belton and Midway, the two teams tied for first in the District 8-5A standings.
And against Heights on Tuesday, visiting Temple showed why its overall record was misleading.
The Wildcats went up 6-0 by the end of the fourth inning thanks to five runs in the top of the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Knights’ bats never came around as Heights was shut out for the first time in league play.
Temple pitcher Chase Stone had a lot to do with that as the big right-hander scattered five hits across seven innings in the complete game shutout.
But after the game, Cunningham told his team there was no reason for alarm despite Temple pulling into a tie with the Knights in the district standings.
Coming off its worst loss of the district season, Cunningham was confident his team was going to bounce back.
“We’ve got kids, they’ll meet the challenge,” Cunningham said. “They’ll come back. I told them we’re not going to panic. We’re just going to go back to fundamentals and try to regroup and look forward to the rest of the season.”
And while the errors on defense and poor base running were uncharacteristic of the Knights at this point in the season, Cunningham took responsibility for the loss and took solace in the fact that his team had come together before.
After a disappointing loss at home, Cunningham now needs his team to do it again.
“It all falls on me. I didn’t do a very good job of preparing us,” Cunningham said. “I need to a better job, we all need to do a better job. We’re all in this together. It’s a team. And we’ll make this work.”