SALADO — First-year baseball head coach Kreece Cooper didn’t want his Salado Eagles to overlook winless Leander Glenn in the teams’ district opener Tuesday night.
“I made (Leander Glenn) out to be the New York Yankees,” Cooper said. “I didn’t want us to take them lightly, because we’ve kind of done that a few games this year. I just had to get these guys going.”
Whatever Cooper told his players prior to the game must’ve worked, because Salado didn’t give Glenn much of a chance as the Eagles run-ruled the Grizzlies in five innings, 12-0.
It was a sparkling league debut for Cooper and Salado junior Jacob Wilk, who made just his second varsity start on the mound. Wilk threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts, and Glenn’s only base runner came in the third inning when Cullen McKinney was called for catcher interference.
The Grizzlies (0-7-1), who are playing their first baseball season since the school opened in August of last year, didn’t advance a runner past first base and were in front of Wilk’s offspeed pitches, including his hard-breaking curveball, the entire contest.
“I was throwing strikes and hitting my spots,” Wilk said. “I didn’t have to mix it up much but when we did, it was good. For my second real start in high school, it wasn’t bad. I was just mainly trying to throw strikes today, and it worked out pretty good for me.”
Wilk continuously worked ahead of hitters and had a three-ball count only once.
“I’m proud of (Wilk). This is his first year to pitch at the varsity level,” Cooper said. “He’s talented, but we’ve just been easing him along and taking our time with him.”
Salado (7-7-1) scored in every inning, which included a seven-run fourth. The Eagles pounded out 12 hits, and half of those went for extra bases.
Salado junior shortstop Drew Dobbins collected two hits and two RBIs from the leadoff spot, and Wilk, McKinney, Ryan Oakes, Tate Harvey and Belton Farr each tallied two hits each as well.
“Tonight, obviously, was huge. We’ve faced that kind of pitching all year and haven’t put on that kind of show yet,” Cooper said. “I was proud of them.”
Added Dobbins, who had a triple and a double: “I was expecting (Glenn) to not touch the ball, so (Wilk) met my expectations. Stringing together a lot of base hits was good to see. Hopefully we can carry that on. This gets the ball rolling (in district play).”
Salado went up 1-0 in the first when pinch-runner Quade Brown scored on a throwing error by Glenn catcher Zack Hefner. The Eagles added two runs each in the second and third to extend their lead to 5-0.
Salado then put the mercy rule into effect by scoring seven runs on six hits and two errors in the fourth.
“We had a slow night tonight,” said Glenn coach Zac Darling, whose roster features only freshmen and sophomores. “Pitching wise, I thought we did a really good job of throwing strikes tonight. This is our first experience, so we’re trying to learn.
“Offensively, that was not our standard. We didn’t have great team at-bats. We were pretty selfish trying to hit the ball out of the park instead of using the whole field. Tip my hat off to Salado. (Wilk) threw his butt off. (Salado) did a great job giving him run support.”
Salado continues district play Friday on the road against Burnet.