Meador, Spartans shutout Elks, 4-0
All the pieces were there for a possible epic pitching duel between Centennial sophomore Jacob Meador and Burleson senior Christian Hallack.
Both hurlers showed glimpses of the talent but in the end, Meador and his teammates were able to top the Elks, 4-0, in a crucial District 9-5A contest Tuesday night.
Meador allowed two hits while going the distance for the win. He struck out nine and walked two.
“I just filled the zone and left it up to the defense,” Meador said. “I knew they had my back on defense the whole game and I knew they had my back at the plate.”
The sophomore worked out of a jam in the first after hitting two batters and again in the sixth after Burleson loaded the bases with one out on two walks and single. He used his slider to strike out back-to-back Elks to get out of the inning unscathed.
“Meador just did what he has been doing lately,” Centennial Brad Hart said. “He was able to work out of a couple of jams, which was huge.”
The win kept Centennial (16-10-1, 7-4) in a tie for third place with Joshua. Centennial hosts Granbury Friday and plays at Joshua Tuesday. Burleson (14-12, 6-5) fell to fifth place in 9-5A. The Elks play at Cleburne Friday and Tuesday at Arlington Seguin.
Hallack was haunted by three errors on the night. The senior allowed nine hits and four runs (one earned) in seven innings.
“Christian did a great job of pitching as usual,” Burleson coach Daniel Bruce said. “If we had played solid defense it might have been a 1-0 game and might have given us more confidence at the plate being down by one instead of down by four.”
Centennial took a 2-0 lead in the first when the Spartans loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and an error. With one out, Adrian Gracia brought home a run with a ground out and Beau Staton followed with an RBI single.
The Spartans added runs in the third on a wild pitch and in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Blake Birdwell.
Before Tuesday’s game, Burleson’s 10-member senior class was recognized. The senior class includes Hallack, Nic Sanchez, Parker Shaha, Davin White, J.T. Smith, Logan Hammit, Conner Schrayer, Brady Camp, Alex Sexton and Logan Pruisner
“These seniors have been awesome,” Bruce said. “This is the biggest senior class I’ve had. They have all contributed in some way and that’s probably the biggest compliment to them. Not only are they a big class but they truly made us a team. We are going to have to get all we can from this senior class because they are pretty good.
Elks cruise to win at Everman
The last two seasons, Burleson’s second district game against Everman has been a nightmare. The Bulldogs handed the Elks losses in both games. Thursday night, the Elks didn’t let that happen as they run-ruled Everman, 17-7, in five innings.
Burleson collected 17 hits Thursday night including four doubles. White doubled twice while Smith and Shaha also doubled.
Smith finished the game going 4-for-4 with three runs scored. Shaha and White each had three hits. Shaha registered four RBI and White drove in three runs.
Sanchez had a pair of hits and two RBI. Brady Camp finished with two RBI. Hallack and Schrayer each drove in a run.
The Elks used three pitchers on the night.
Kayden Cassidy picked up the win as the starter. He worked four innings allowing three runs (one earned) while giving up five hits. Cassidy fanned three and a walked two. Logan Hammitt and Hayden Alexander also pitched for the Elks.
“We came out swinging the bats really well,” Bruce said. “Kayden Cassidy got back in the groove as far as where he needed to be pitching-wise. I thought we executed pitches and defensive plays when we needed with the exception of the fifth inning. I’m excited to see how our players continue to play and get better throughout the next two weeks of the season.”
Birdwell’s pitching lifts Spartans
Thanks to six hitless innings of relief by Centennial senior Birdwell, the Spartans picked up a 5-4 win over Arlington Seguin in a 9-5A district battle Thursday night.
Birdwell stifled the Cougars with 10 strikeouts, which gave the Spartans the opportunity to earn a comeback win and end a two-game skid.
Both starting pitchers struggled with control early on. Centennial took advantage of three first-inning walks and a hit by pitch to take a 2-0 lead.
After senior Payton Strambler breezed through the first inning on the mound, he had trouble locating in the second. Five straight base runners reached to start the inning before Birdwell came in relief.
Birdwell walked a couple batters in the inning before he settled into a groove. He earned the win, going six innings allowing no runs on no hits and two walks while striking out 10.
“Strambler’s been fighting through some inconsistency this season,” Hart said. “It happens. But thankfully we’ve got a guy like Blake that you can bring in and really go to. He was really good tonight but he’s been that way all year, really.”
After Seguin’s starter Kadon Morton reeled off seven straight strikeouts in the middle innings, coach Hart’s squad resorted to some small ball to regain the lead in the fifth.
After a walk and a single from Strambler and Ethan Quintanilla, Adrian Gracia laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over before Beau Staton tied the game up with a sacrifice fly. After moving to third on the sacrifice fly, Quintanilla scored on a wild pitch to give the Spartans a 5-4 lead.
The Spartans managed just four hits on the night, but coach Hart was happy with the way his team manufactured runs.
“We don’t seem to be swinging the bat too well right now,” Hart said. “So when it gets late in the game that’s just the kind of thing you have to do. Credit to Beau [Staton] there; he does a great job of hitting a deep fly ball out of the infield to score that tying run. That’s good baseball.”
Gracia finished the game 1-2 with an RBI while Staton was 0-1 with one walk and an RBI. Quintanilla went 1-2 and scored two runs.