MIDLOTHIAN — Midlothian Heritage High School rebounded from a shutout defeat to Stephenville High School last Tuesday with an 11-1 rout of Venus High School on Friday night at Jaguar Baseball Field.
With the help of player No. 1 in the batting lineup to player No. 9, as well as a trio of near-shutout mound performances, the Jaguars snapped a string of back-to-back losses to Argyle and Stephenville High Schools.
"There's a reason Argyle is the number one team in the state. They threw their No. 1 against us and we didn't do the same, but that's no excuse. Against Stephenville, we didn't produce offensively," said Nick Junior, the head baseball coach at Midlothian Heritage High School. "we played good enough to win even though we gave up two runs but we couldn't get anybody on base. That's the name of the game. You don't get anybody on base, you don't score."
It also dropped the (19-5, 9-1) Jaguars into a two-way tie with Godley High School for the District 8-4A lead.
Junior said facing the Yellow Jackets' Easton Jones, one of the top pitchers in the state, compounded the difficult route they took towards victory when they failed to capitalize on scoring attempts.
He also helped snap a Stephenville losing streak.
"He had a really good game," Junior continued. "He kept us off balance all night long and we didn't do a good job making him throw pitches. They deserved to win after the way they played."
Less than a school week after dropping their first district loss, though, the Jaguars down there stride. Despite Venus' one-run lead going into the top of the second inning, the Jaguars scored runs in the second, third, fourth and sixth to force the run-ruled victory.
The combination of Bostic, Bryce Fuller and Jered Boisvert, though, was nearly flawless. The trio allowed one run on four hits, struck out four batters and walked only one. They also held Venus to nine total quality at-bats in the team's 19 plate appearances.
Junior credited part of the success of his pitching staff to the glove and bat of his freshman catcher.
"It's not easy being back there as a freshman," Junior said. "Cade (Sumbler) is a competitor and he competes. Anytime you have that caliber of player back there willing to give 100 percent. It doesn't matter what grade he is. That's what he does — compete and does the best he can. He struggled a little with the bat early, but he's really hot right now. I'm usually a bunting guy, but there was a situation that a chance for us to bunt came up. Becuase I knew Cade was on a roll, I went with the hot hand. Sure enough, he got a hit."
While Coby Calvery (2-for-3, 3 RBIs) led Midlothian Heritage in hits and RBIs, he was only one of three players that had multiple hits — including doubles by Bostic, Calvery and Charlie Clark — and one of eight that accounted for the team's 11 total hits.
Midlothian frustrated Venus ace Kelby Storm through six innings forcing him to throw 94 pitches at a 68 percent strike rate, and allow 11 runs on 11 hits. Storm struck out five batters and walked two during the rematch.
The forward momentum, Junior said, is vital to entering the playoffs, noting the 7:30 p.m. Tuesday matchup with Alvarado High School at Jaguar Baseball Field and the 7:30 p.m. Friday district finale against Godley High School.
"Alvarado is always a rivalry game so it's going to be a big one for us," Junior said. "They have a really good team. We split with them last year and had to have extra innings to beat them this year. These last two games will decide whether we win district or not, so we have to go into the game focused like they are the playoffs. It's important for us to pick up that momentum because the teams that advance in the playoffs are the ones that get on a roll. Luck plays a part of it, but I'm a believer that you create your own luck. The teams that back in because somebody got beat are the ones you'll see out of the playoffs early."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.