Peaster rides fast start past Tigers

Starting the game in right field, Preston Shuffield allows no earned runs or hits in three innings of pitching relief. The senior also led the offense with a double and an RBI single against Peaster.

Facing a solid Peaster team on the road, Tiger baseball needed to be sharp in the district opener March 17.

Unfortunately, Glen Rose (3-3-3, 0-1) took too long to get going down 8-0 in an 8-2 defeat. The Tigers finished with more hits (5-4) and errors (5-2) in a contest played in the rain much of the way.

"We may have had some nerves in the district opener, or maybe the rain gave us trouble, but the big thing was giving up those five runs in the third," said coach James Evans. "Allowing them to score in each (of the first four innings) was costly, and the walks got us. But we fought to the end.

"We only struck out three times, so if we keep hitting the ball, eventually they'll start falling. We just can't give up the big inning."

Jayton Dillard (3 IP, 7 R - 1 ER, 4 H, 5 W, 2 K) got the start, while Preston Shuffield (3 IP, 1 R - 0 ER, 0 H, 4 W, 2 K) came on in relief.

The walks were an issue for both pitchers, but Shuffield allowed no earned runs or hits despite pitching during the height of the rain.

"That's probably the toughest outing for Dillard this year, but he has a lot of heart," Evans said. "Some days you have good days, sometimes you have bad days. I'd go with him every time.

"Preston pitched well in relief, and I thought we finished strong. He did a good job of holding their offense down."

Shuffield led the offense with a double and an RBI single.

"Preston had a great game," Evans said.

Devin Crawford (single) had the first Tiger hit in the third, while Layne McAnear (RBI single) got his team on the board in the sixth. Colten Lane also singled.

"That was big (by Crawford) to try to spark our offense," Evans said. "I like seeing that (from McAnear) to get our first run on the board. We just couldn't catch a break before that."

Catcher Drayton Williams had more trouble than usual with passed balls, but he did manage to throw a runner out at third.

"We have to cut down on the passed balls, because you almost give them back an out and then they don't have to bunt," Evans said. "Drayton has a strong arm behind the plate to make that throw."

Dillard picked off a runner when he was on the mound. Taylor Beckwith made a nice running foul grab in left field.

Both Tiger runs came in the sixth thanks to Dillard (safe on error), Lane (single), McAnear (RBI single) and Shuffield (RBI single). Two Glen Rose batters were hit in the seventh, but Peaster managed to close it out.

It doesn't get any easier for the Tigers, as No. 13 Brock comes to town March 20 at 7 p.m.

"We have tough teams in our district, and I wanted that because it makes you a better ball club," Evans said. "We have our work cut out with Brock up next."