HARKER HEIGHTS — Cody Plagens wouldn’t say he made the difference.
But he didn’t have to, the results spoke for themselves.
Ineligible to play during the season-opening tournament last weekend, Plagens made the most of his first action of the season by pacing the stagnant Knights offense with six hits as Harker Heights (2-4) rolled through the first day of action Thursday at the Wolfpack Classic baseball tournament at Harker Heights High School on Thursday.
“It felt real good because I know they didn’t do very good last weekend, so it was good to come out here and get a (few) Ws this weekend,” Plagens said.
With Plagens at the top of the lineup, the Knights offense combined for 22 runs on 18 hits as they swept Burnet 12-2 in six innings and rolled up a nine-run first inning in a 10-6 win over Lorena. Round robin games were also being played at Shoemaker High School, where the host Grey Wolves also got their bats going in a pair of blowout wins Thursday, 8-2 over Waco University and 21-6 in four innings over Academy. Games continue today with tournament play slated for Saturday at Shoemaker.
Plagens was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI against Burnet and then batted 1 for 2 with an RBI and two runs scored — both in the nine-run first — against Lorena. Robbie Sluss was 2 for 3 with a two-RBI double in the first inning and Damion May and Will Lopez each added RBI singles in the early surge versus Lorena.
“It was a challenge for them to come out here and prove themselves, because I feel like there’s some good players out here, and I feel like there’s a good team out here,” Knights coach Glenn Cunningham said. “But we can’t talk about it, we have to go out and show people that we can play.”
Key to the Knights’ offensive resurgence after managing just nine runs combined through its first four losses was their ability to take advantage of their opponents mistakes.
Against Burnet, Heights scored three runs in the third inning, two on back-to-back errors, and then batted around in a six-run fifth with five hits and three more errors. Kyle Randal was also 2 for 4 at the plate while striking out five in three innings of work for the win against Burnet.
“Good teams take advantage when (teams) give them those situations,” Cunningham said.
District 8-5A’s other two representatives, Copperas Cove and Killeen, were both swept Thursday, with the Bulldawgs losing 11-3 and 7-2 to Burnet and Lorena while the Roos fell 6-1 to Waco University and 9-5 to Academy.
Shoemaker 21, Academy 6, 4 inn. — At Shoemaker, Raven Sauceda went 3-for-3 with a bases-clearing triple to start off an 11-run third inning and Albert Castro also went 3 for 3 with two triples and a double while knocking in five runs in the rout.
The Grey Wolves got on the board first with five runs in the bottom of the first inning and then added five more in the second, three coming from a bases-clearing triple by Castro, before exploding in the third.
Sophomore pitcher John Ibarra earned the win on the mound and also added three RBIs, while Elijah Hilliard was 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs and Broderick Reed was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs as well.
Shoemaker 8, Waco University 2 — At Shoemaker, Roberto Delgado pitched a complete-game five-hitter and batted 2 for 3 with a two RBI sacrifice in a six-run fifth inning.
Elijah Hilliard also batted 2 for 3 with a pair of two-out run-scoring doubles, the first a two-run shot to left field to tie the game at 2-2 in bottom of the second inning and then adding an RBI double to center for the Grey Wolves’ eighth run to cap the fifth-inning barrage.
Albert Castro added an RBI triple and Wade Corn had an RBI single in the fifth.