Four runs scored in the sixth frame carried the Austin Maroons to a 6-4 win over Hays Friday, spoiling the Rebels’ inaugural contest at their new on-campus baseball field.
“I thought the field itself played really well,” Hays head coach James Howard said. “I wish we would’ve had a better performance on the field, but that’s the way baseball goes sometimes.”
Hays troubles started in the top of the first inning as starting pitcher Ulises Tovar struggled with pitch control by walking four Maroon batters. A bases-loaded walk, followed by a balk call led to two Maroon runs. Tovar eventually settled in over the next four frames and allowed two hits, two walks and striking out four batters. Tovar was relieved in the sixth inning due to a high pitch count and left with a 4-2 lead.
Austin High hitters, however, took advantage of the Rebel bullpen en route to a four-run sixth frame. The Maroons capitalized on multiple hard-hit singles to left field, as well as a bases loaded walk.
Howard said the 10 walks issued by Hays’ pitching staff played a key role in the loss.
“We always preach three simple things in baseball and if you do these three things you’re going to win,” Howard said. “One of them is throw strikes, and we just didn’t get the job done on the mound tonight.”
Hays’ Garrison Vaughn drove in the first two runs at the new ball park via an RBI double in the third frame that tied the game at 2-2. Vaughn went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two stolen bases.
“Garrison is a good hitter, he controls the bat really well and sees the ball really well,” Howard said. “He’s a tough out at the plate. He’s able to drive balls to all parts of the field and he’s got a really good eye at the plate. It just makes him a really good high school hitter.”
Rebels Zane Lilljedhal and Aidan Martinez drove in runs in the fifth and sixth frames to build a 4-2 lead before Austin rallied back.
With just four more games left to play in the regular season the Rebels are in third place in 25-6A.
Austin High (7-6) and Lehman (6-6) are behind Hays in the standings; all three teams will be fighting for the final two playoff spots in the district.
“We are not going to quit working,” said Howard. “We are going to bounce back and we are going to practice hard.”
Hays hosts Westlake Friday at 7 p.m.