Harker Heights entered this season with lofty expectations and got a chance to prove itself early with its district opener against defending champion Belton.
But that chance ended in disappointment as the Knights fell in a 4-1 loss Tuesday at Belton.
Against Killeen on Friday, however, Heights reminded the Kangaroos, and itself, why it had those high expectations in the first place.
“We know that we’re a good team,” senior Caleb Dean said after the Knights’ 10-0 run-rule victory against Killeen, “but it’s good to actually prove it on the scoreboard.”
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the win for Heights was that, after its potent offense scored just one run against Belton, the Knights busted out for 10 runs on eight hits in just five innings against the Roos.
Heights also took advantage of each Roo miscue as each of the four Killeen errors led directly or indirectly to a run.
And the early scoring binge — Heights led 4-0 after two innings — also helped the Knights out on defense as Dean comfortably pitched a one-hit shutout while working with a lead.
“It’s hard when you’re behind from a game pitching,” Dean said, “but just knowing that you’ve got your offense working with you as well as your defense, it’s a lot easier knowing that you can just go up there and pitch a game without worrying about anything else.”
For head coach Glenn Cunningham, the best part of the win was seeing the Knights unfazed by the loss to Belton — and ready to play Killeen with the same vigor.
“And that’s what you always worry about,” Cunningham said. “Are we just going to get up for the good teams or are we going to get up for everybody? And you’ve got to respect everybody you play.”
The Knights have done that thus far. And heading into a matchup with Ellison, which Cunningham said is better than its record, the Knights will have to continue to do that if they hope to reach those lofty expectations.