Shoemaker head baseball coach Harry Zambrana is not discussing the Grey Wolves’ current winning streak.
In truth, the Grey Wolves themselves are not nearly as concerned either, so long as they keep winning and their preseason goal of making the playoffs for the first time in school history remains achievable. Raven Sauceda’s sixth-inning triple scored the go-ahead run and Shoemaker held off Killeen 10-8 to win its fourth straight on Tuesday at Shoemaker.
“The team’s confidence is really big right now,” Sauceda said. “Because we all have that same feeling in our stomach right now that we’re going to the playoffs. We all know that we can win all the games and never give up.”
Shoemaker (14-9, 6-4 8-5A) took over sole possession of third-place in the District 8-5A standings with four games left following Harker Heights 5-1 loss to Ellison on Tuesday. The Knights beat Shoemaker 4-0 on March 19 but have lost five of their last seven since the win and play at Shoemaker on Friday.
“We are finding ways to win, which is a lot different from years past,” Zambrana said. “Today, we started hot and kind of fizzled out. ... But, it kind of looks like we get laxed and we kind of let the game slip away and then when the pressure’s on, we come back and do what we’ve got to do to win the ballgame. It’s just a little different this year for us.”
John Guiets led off the Grey Wolves’ sixth inning with a single and Sauceda followed with a triple to left field to break an
8-8 tie. Sauceda then scored his fourth of the game on Roberto Delgado’s RBI ground-out.
“They tied the game up and that’s when we knew we really had to dig in,” Sauceda said. “And we all said to ourselves that we really want to beat this team to have an easier chance to go to the playoffs. We got pumped up when they tied it up because we knew we had to come back and win the ballgame.”
Killeen (4-17-1, 3-7) rallied from an 8-5 deficit with three two-out runs in the top of the sixth inning before Sauceda struck out Chris Barber to get the final out of the inning.
The Roos took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an error and three straight hits. After lead-off batter Marquise Winston reached on an error, Rene Ramirez and Garrett Gaskamp hit back-to-back singles with Gaskamp’s drive to left field plating Winston. Daniel Vega followed with a run-scoring double to plate the Roos the early lead.
“We scored two runs, but we also left two runners on base,” Killeen coach Donald Trcka said. “A big clutch here and that opens it up and that’s what we were hoping for was that big inning and it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Jamie Funk hit a triple to start the Grey Wolves’ half of the inning as the first of five straight hits by the Grey Wolves. Guiets hit an RBI single to plate Funk and then scored the tying run on a Killeen error after a double by Sauceda. Sauceda then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Delgado. Delgado scored on a wild pitch and Albert Castro, who hit a double down the left field line, scored on Ramiro Gonzalez’ sacrifice fly.
Sauceda scored again in the second inning on a single by Gonzalez after reaching on an error and Delgado scored on an error two batters later for a 7-2 Shoemaker lead.
Vega doubled in the third for Killeen and scored on an error, and Marcos Hinojos hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to cut the Grey Wolves’ lead to 7-5. Vega finished with three doubles, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
“I can say this about my kids is they fight. And they keep fighting. And whatever I ask them to do, they do,” Trcka said. “It’s a learning process and we’re just going to keep plugging along and hopefully some good things come out towards the end.”