By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
After watching his Wildcats take batting and fielding practice Saturday afternoon, Temple coach Larry Haynes was worried.
After Temple (11-17, 7-7) locked up District 12-5A's fourth playoff seed Friday night when A&M Consolidated beat Ellison, Saturday's regular season finale against Shoemaker (6-19, 1-13) just did not have the luster.
Temple ace Kevin Lock brought back the shine.
Lock, the senior southpaw who will play for Temple College next season, threw a one-walk, one-hitter and struck out 17 to give him 125 this season and break Temple High School's sigle-season strikeout record as the Wildcats shutout Shoemaker 6-0.
"We were flat in batting practicing and in-and-outs (fielding)," Haynes said. "We visited with them and (playing flat) was what we worried about. (Lock) looked comfortable in the strike zone and threw a lot of strikes instead of balls."
Lock took a no-hitter into the seventh before Elliot Hilliard chopped a single between first and second base. But Lock struck out Raymond Berry and Blake Whatley to tie and break Derek Stanford's 12-year-old record of 124 strikeouts in a season.
"Kevin Lock is a stud," said Shoemaker coach Randy Culp. "My hat's off to those guys (Temple). My kids I'm proud of them. They never gave up."
Shoemaker starting pitcher Cory Stapleton was equally impressive through the first three innings. He struck out two and held Temple hitless until Allen Rostovich boomed a home run over the left field wall to lead-off the fourth inning.
The Wildcats blew open the game in the sixth with four runs on three hits against Shoemaker reliever Mark Todd.
Rostovich, who finished two-for-four with a walk, led off the with a double and Temple, which had the bases loaded with no outs, plated one on a wild pitch and another on an infield throwing error after an RBI bunt by Isaac Matamoros.
"There until the sixth, we were right there with them," Culp said. "A couple hits here and there and we'd be right there. We had one bad inning that put us in a whole and we just kind of fell off."
Stapleton finished with five strikeouts and allowed two runs on four hits. But a wild pitch with one out in the fourth plated Lock to give Temple a 2-0 lead.
Matt Reed was Shoemaker's first base-runner in the fourth when he reached first after a dropped third-strike – one of two by the Wildcats – but Lock struck out two straight and forced Brian Le to ground out to second base.
"They hit the ball when they needed to," Culp said. "We've got to produce our own events in a game. We can't wait for someone else to give them to us, especially in this district."
Temple, which clinched District 12-5A's fourth playoff seed Friday night when A&M Consolidated beat Ellison, registered seven hits while the Grey Wolves hit the one single and had just one – a fly-out to centerfield by Le in the seventh – reach the outfield.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.