During his final at-bat of the game, Caleb Dean took a pitch to his left elbow that resulted in him leaving the District 8-5A game.
But prior to that he was bringing the pain on the hill and at the plate.
Dean struck out 11 Shoemaker Grey Wolves and went 2 for 2 with an RBI to help the Harker Heights Knights win 10-0 at Charger Six Field.
“It’s a fun game to be a part of,” Dean said. “We’ve all played with these guys since they were little. We just came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy and it was just easy to go up there and relax with my team behind me.”
The win was Heights’ (11-5-1, 3-1) third in a row since opening district play with a loss to Belton. The Knights have outscored their last three opponents by a combined score of 23-1 in that span.
Dean allowed only two hits in five innings of work and, at one point, struck out 11 of 13 batters he faced from the first through fifth innings. He also scored a run in the fifth inning.
Dean slammed a double in the top of the third which looked like it was headed out of the ball park, but instead hit the centerfield wall.
“I wasn’t really watching it, but I heard it hit the fence pretty hard,” Dean said. “It felt really good off the bat.”
The Shoemaker (7-10, 2-3) offense mustered only three hits and four base runners.
The Grey Wolves appeared to be on their way to breaking up the shutout when Jose Casillas ripped a triple to left with the speedy Raven Sauceda on first. But Heights left fielder Stephen Shaw made a fine throw into the infield and Heights catcher Landon Persick tagged out Sauceda at the plate after the relay came from third.
“We definitely got impatient and did something out of character,” Shoemaker head coach Harry Zambrana said. “We’ve got two choices, we can learn from it or we can fold tent. We’re going to come to work every day and coach them hard so we’re not going to let them fold tent.”
Casillas led Shoemaker’s offense, going 2 for 3 with a single and triple. Shoemaker starting pitcher Roberto Delgado went 1 for 3 from the plate and had five strikeouts.
Harker Heights outfielder Michael Zapata scored on a fielder’s choice to get the Knights on the board in the top of the first and Dean doubled the lead in the Knight third with a single up the middle that brought home Zapata.
Heights broke the game open in the top of the fourth with a three-run inning that included an RBI single by Matt Sluss and an RBI sacrifice bunt by leadoff hitter Tyler Torres.
The scoring runs were put on base off an error, hit-by-pitch and walk.
“I thought this was a game where our kids played a complete game,” said Heights head coach Glenn Cunningham. “We got great pitching to start with. Offensively, we ran the bases well, we took advantage of the situations that were presented, the opportunities that we had and had a great relay to preserve the shutout. It was just a good ball game all around for our kids.”
Heights infielder Wilson Owens had a strong game from the plate going 2 for 2 with an RBI and run scored and Torres had a pair of RBIs.
The Knights will go for their fourth straight district win on Tuesday when they host Temple while Shoemaker looks to get back into the win column at Waco Midway.
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com