Tiger baseball may not have emerged from its opening day victorious on Friday, but coach Kenny Toney can be encouraged by strong showings from several young players.
Competing in the Gatesville Tournament, the Tigers lost to Rogers 6-4 and were then defeated by Georgetown Eastview 3-2. Glen Rose (0-2) was perhaps its own worst enemy, as it finished with 13 walks and nine errors on the day.
“When you consider the number of errors we made in both games and the number of walks against Rogers (11), and realizing that both games were close, it tells me that we got out of some jams and it could’ve been a lot worse,” Toney said. “I was proud of the fact that we made it a game in both. Given the fact that five of our guys out there had two days of practice, I’ll say that we’ll get a lot better as the days go by.”
Against Rogers, Glen Rose finished with fewer hits (8-7) and more errors (5-1). The Tigers scored three of their runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
“You put yourself in a hole with that many walks and errors, but I can say that hustle wasn’t an issue,” Toney said.
Pitchers against Rogers included Patrick Freehill (2 IP, 4 R – 2 ER, 2 H, 6 W, K), Drayton Williams (3 IP, 2 R – 2 ER, 5 H, 4 W, K) and Hayden Holder (2 IP, 0 R, H, W, 2 K).
“Drayton is getting his chance as a pitcher during tournaments, and even if he is eventually on JV this varsity experience is going to benefit him,” Toney said. “I was very pleased to see Holder throw the way he did. I think he’ll be in contention to earn that No. 2 spot behind (Hayden) Bach.”
Offensively, Holder led the way with a double, a single and an RBI.
“Hayden did a good job against Rogers of competing at the plate,” Toney said. “He got the big hit for us.”
Other hitters included Cody Burtscher (single, RBI), Austin Gibson (single, RBI), Jayton Dillard (single, RBI), Preston Shuffield (single) and Colton Lane (single).
Gibson, who returned to action at the end of basketball season after breaking his leg in November, was the only Tiger with a hit and an RBI in both games.
“It was great to see Gibson already being that productive,” Toney said. “He assured me this week that he was good to go.”
Four of the six players with hits against Rogers are sophomores.
“It’s great to see that many young guys contribute,” the coach said. “It can only be a confidence booster for them to do well in these tournament games.”
In the Eastview game, each team tallied seven hits and Glen Rose made all four errors. After the Tigers tied the score with a two-run fourth inning, Eastview won it in the bottom of the seventh.
“That game was there for us, but we had a lot of youth out there and you just have to take it as a learning experience,” Toney said.
Pitchers included Shuffield (5 IP, 2 R – 0 ER, 5 H, 2 W, 4 K) and Taylor Hansen (1 1/3 IP, 1 R – 1 ER, 2 H, 2 K).
“I was very pleased with our pitching in that one,” Toney said. “Preston threw five good innings and didn’t want to come out, but I’m a big stickler on pitch count. Then Taylor came in and had two good innings.
“He threw a ground ball in the seventh to give us a chance to get out of the inning. Eventually we’ll turn that double play.”
Shuffield led the offense with two singles.
“Preston also hit really well in that one,” Toney said. “He’s competing with Lane at third base and both guys are responding well to it. Colton had a strong game at third.”
Other hitters included Gibson (single, RBI), Lane (single, RBI), Freehill (single), Curry Mapes (single) and Williams (single).
The Tigers return to the tourney on Saturday at 9 a.m. to face Florence.
“The main issue for us right now is a lack of practice,” Toney said. “Once we get to district, I think we’ll be hitting on all cylinders.”