HARKER HEIGHTS — Harker Heights head coach Glenn Cunningham has maintained his team must get up for every team in District 8-5A.
On Tuesday, visiting Temple proved his point.
The Wildcats, who entered the game with two wins on the season, beat the Knights 9-0 at Harker Heights High School to hand Heights its second district loss.
It was Height’s first loss since its district opener against Belton.
After beginning the season 0-10, Temple (3-12, 3-2 8-5A) is now tied with Heights (11-6, 3-2) in the District 8-5A standings.
“We’re feeling real confident right now,” Temple pitcher Chase Stone said. “We’re playing good baseball, we’re just practicing hard and we’re just going to feel like we can beat anybody out there.
“Throw anybody out there, and we’ll beat them.”
Heights, meanwhile, fell hard after a 10-0 win against Shoemaker on Friday.
“We were flat, no question about it,” Cunningham said. “We came out flat, but give Temple credit, they came out and played well. We created opportunities and they took advantage of it.”
While Temple took advantage of every Heights miscue to score nine runs on seven hits, Stone was equally impressive on the mound, tossing a five-hit shutout.
The big right-hander with the unorthodox delivery only allowed three runners into scoring position while striking out five and walking three.
“Stone threw a great game,” Cunningham said of the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder. “He kept us off balance.
“We were never ever able to create any offense tonight. We just never got going.”
Stone got all the run support he’d need on a Ricky Ortiz RBI single that put Temple up 1-0 in the top of the third.
But the Wildcats busted the game open in the top of the fourth as Stone got them started with a leadoff single.
Four batters later, he came in to score on a three-run double by Chase Truelove that put Heights in its biggest hole of the district season, down 4-0.
Temple added two more runs before the inning was over, taking a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
But then Stone, already feeling it on the mound, settled in even more.
“You go out there and you feel comfortable when it’s a 6-0 lead,” Stone said. “You feel comfortable, you can just throw the ball, throw strikes and let them put it into play.”
Temple added to its lead in the next two innings, going up 9-0 in the top of the sixth on a two-run triple by Tye Ochoa, his only hit of the game.
And while Temple was ready to take on the world after the big win, Heights was eager to move forward for a different reason.
Heading into a road game against Waco Midway, which was tied for first entering Tuesday, the Knights were ready to put Tuesday behind them and get back on the winning path.
“You’ve got to respect everybody you play,” Cunningham said.
“And we weren’t ready to play tonight and that falls on me.
“It’s my job to get them refocused, and I promise you, we’ll get refocused and we’ll get better at what we’re doing.”