By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
SALADO - Even in a tight game, first-year Salado coach Chad Krempin isn't afraid to push the issue on the base paths.
With sophomore starter Casey Frazier keeping Llano in check on the mound, the Eagles' aggressiveness paid off Friday night when Trey Mohler's overrunning of second base sparked a five-run sixth inning for a 7-1 win at home.
"We're always looking to advance and run the bases aggressively - he just kind of got caught sleeping I guess and it worked out for us," Krempin said of Mohler.
The luck came in when Llano catcher Will Siegenthaler, who was attempting to run down Mohler at second after a sacrifice fly by Davis Little plated senior pinch runner Jacob Jordan, airmailed the pick-off throw all the way to the center field wall to score both Mohler and Reagan Bazar and turn a 2-1 lead into 5-1.
That was all Salado needed.
Frazier settled down after Llano took a 1-0 lead on a first-inning RBI double from opposing pitcher Clay Tarter, allowing just four hits while striking out seven in the complete-game effort.
"I just got in a groove. I really found my curveball, throwing that for strikes, fastball had good velocity, and really great defense from Marshall (Mann) at third, Jon (Franz at shortstop), everybody really," Frazier said.
The victory locked up the No. 2 seed in District 25-3A for Salado (16-10, 7-2 25-3A) after Burnet lost 1-0 to district champion Liberty Hill, whom the Eagles face in the regular season-finale Tuesday.
Frazier even helped himself out.
After allowing the early run to Llano, Frazier came right back in the bottom of the first with his own run-scoring double, drilling a 2-0 offering by Tarter to the left-center field wall to score Franz and Jordan, who stumbled around third but slide home safely after the ball skipped past Siegenthaler at the plate.
"Every chance I have to put him in motion, if it's going to be close, I'm going to send him because he can run – that's what he does," Krempin said of Jordan.
From there, it was a pitchers duel as both Frazier and Tarter put up zeroes for the next four innings.
"When we couldn't produce any runs, I just knew I had to go out there and keep working and keep shutting them down," Frazier said.
But then the sixth inning came around, and the Eagles quickly loaded the bases courtesy of two walks from Tarter.
After clearing the bases on Davis' sacrifice and the subsequent error, Salado continued to pile it on, as Coby Giniewicz got a pinch-hit single and Mann (2-for-2) followed with a single before both came home on more Llano miscues when relief pitcher Taylor Sorenson's pickoff throw skipped past first base allowing Jacob Svadlenak (who reentered for Giniewicz) to score for a 6-1 lead.