HARKER HEIGHTS — After his team was run-ruled at home against Belton to start the second half of district play, Glenn Cunningham told his Harker Heights Knights — then losers of three of their last four — of his improbable vision for the team.
“I told them after the Belton game, I said, ‘Guys, from this point on, I think we can run the table,” Cunningham said Tuesday.
At the time, Heights had slid from second to fourth in the district standings, and rather than chasing Belton and Waco Midway at the top of the standings, the Knights found themselves desperately trying to hold off Ellison and Copperas Cove for the final playoff spot in District 8-5A.
But now, the Knights are one game away from making Cunningham’s belief a prophecy, having won five straight after a 3-1 win against Midway on Tuesday.
Tuesday was the second straight game in which the Knights avenged a loss. The Knights handed Temple a 10-2 loss after the Wildcats defeated Heights 10-0 earlier in the season.
Following a one-run loss to Midway in the first half of district play, Heights held on Tuesday for a gutsy 3-1 victory at home.
The win was a big one for a Heights team that hadn’t forgotten the way Midway rallied for victory in the teams’ first meeting.
“We had a chip on our shoulders from the last game,” Heights sophomore Tyler Torres said. “We had to come out and show them who was the better team.
“We have a great team here. We just need to work together, and wins will come like this.”
Of course, Daniel Cole has also been a big reason for the Knights’ hot stretch, and he was big again Tuesday, refusing to surrender the two-run lead that Torres gave him in the first with a two-run single to center.
“You just can’t say enough about Daniel’s performance,” Cunningham said. “He had a great pitching performance, and we played super defense behind him.”
It was the type of performance that Heights envisioned itself having many times when the season first began.
And although that type of performance seemed far away at one point this season, the Knights are playing better these days, and making Cunningham look smarter and smarter with each game.
“I told them, ‘I really felt like we have a good team here. And we play great defense, we get good pitching night in and night out,’” Cunningham said. “For the most part, we’ve had excellent pitching. I just told them, ‘I think we can run the table from here on out.’”
Now, the Knights need just one more win to prove him right.