By Art Dlugach
One game was a thriller, and the other was a rout, but both went to the Llano High summer baseball Jackets against oftentimes- bothersome foe, Fredericksburg.
“Our batting and pitching have both improved,” said summer coach Joe Dan Tarter. “It’s all about getting reps (repititions), and we have had about 12-14 boys show up each week.” The bulk of the schedule has been doubleheaders on Thursday nights against such teams as Copperas Cove, Blanco, Harper, Ingram, and the Billies.
LHS 8, Fred 7
Isaac Hutto’s rather perfect night began by getting hit by a pitch in the first inning. He would also walk twice in the contest and add three hits in the nightcap—six plate appearances, six times on base.
Holden Simpson followed the HBP with a single, and Jalen Bauman—who overcame getting caught in a rundown to have his own superb twin bill—drove in two runs with a two-out base hit.
Fredericksburg picked up four to lead 4-2 until the bottom of the third. Tommy Yelvington walked, Hutto singled, and Simpson slammed a pitch to deep center field for a double that chased in the tying runs. Lance Reven and Eli Tiffin added singles, as eight men came to the plate, and the advantage returned to the Jackets, 6-4.
“This bunch really likes the game,” declared Tarter, who really likes the game, too—enough to stand in the third base coach’s box for two games in weather that tends to cool off easily by 10 p.m. His wife, Candy, keeps the scorebook.
Incoming head baseball coach Mike Ridings and his wife Karla are interested spectators, as they take a look at the hand dealt to them for next spring. Mrs. Ridings will continue to be a counselor at Madison High in San Antonio—but says she won’t miss games next year. That’s either a good wife or a heck of a baseball fan.
Where was I? Oh, 6-4, Llano. It became 6-5 while we were at the concession stand, but in the fourth inning, Aaron Moss walked and one out later, Erich Burch was hit by a pitch. Yelvington singled to load the bases, and Hutto used one of his walks to send home Moss.
The Billies rallied to tie the game in their last at-bats in the fifth.
The Jackets made quick work of pushing across the deciding tally in their half of the frame. Bauman doubled, Reven singled, and, with runners at second and third, Tiffin was surprisingly allowed to bat when diamond lore teaches, “With the runners at first and second meaningless, load the bases and hope for a couple of force outs at the plate.” Eli enjoyed the visitors’ turning their backs on the longtime strategy, and his single ended Game One.
LHS 10, Fred 1
Bauman doubled in the first, giving him back-to-back two-base hits in two innings. That drove in the second run. Isaac began a five RBI collection with his own run-scoring double. That got Yelvington across the plate.
Hutto, who was also in the process of striking out five in three innings on the mound, drove in Brett Pippenger and David Durham in a four-run second. Simpson contributed a run batted in, and a wild pitch made it 6-1.
Isaac wrapped up his bullish night with the bat by hammering in Burch and Tiffin in the third.
“Hutto’s pitching will be important next year,” Tarter asserted. Wil Siegenthaler, John Winn, and Reven and Simpson may also get the ball in ’13.
All these summertime sports resemble each other in that we are reminded not to make too much of the final scores or the statistics—but it’s a lot more fun not to make too much of victories than defeats.