The winter storms of snow and ice that blanketed high school baseball fields have resulted in limited the practice time, but Middle Creek and Heritage are showing signs of mid-season form.
Middle Creek held off Heritage 3-2 in error-free baseball Tuesday afternoon at Mustang Park. Middle Creek improved to 2-0, while Heritage suffered its first loss in three games.
“We were just talking about that,” said Heritage coach Tony Piercy after shaking hands with Mustangs coach Wesley King following the game. “For the first week of the season, that was a pretty doggone well-played baseball game.”
Added King: “They’re going to have a good season, and we expect that we will too. It was good for both teams to play that style of game this early in the year. We battled each other.”
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Middle Creek jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning before the Huskies rallied with two runs in the fifth.
But Middle Creek senior shortstop Diego Guerrero led off the bottom of the fifth with a game-winning solo home run to straightaway center field for his second RBI. The ball barely cleared the fence at the 380-foot sign and only would have been more straightaway if it had not hit the centerfield flagpole.
“It was just trying to get a base hit,” Guerrero said. “The pitcher had a good slider, and I was trying to stay inside the ball. But he left it down the middle and I tried to hit it as hard as I could.”
Guerrero was 2-of-3 with two RBIs. In the second inning, starting pitcher Tucker Rogers, who threw three scoreless innings before he was relieved, walked with one out and appeared stranded following a pop-up. But No. 8 hitter Isaiah Herring singled to center to advance Rogers to third and No. 9 hitter Griffin Riley managed an infield single to score Rogers. Guerrero was clutch with a double to bring home Herring.
Heritage rallied with two runs when Caleb Coyle singled to lead off the fifth and beat the throw to second on a ground ball by Blake Walters. Justin Kunz’s single scored Coyle and Walters came home on a Brad Mize’s fielder’s choice.
The Huskies mounted rallies in the sixth and seventh, but senior reliever Langdon Wilson got out of both jams to pick up the save.
In the sixth, the bases were loaded with one out when he entered the game. He coaxed ground ball for a force out at home and then a fly ball. In the seventh, he gave up a leadoff single and hit a batter, but he got out of his own jam with sacrifice bunt, an infield pop-up in foul territory and a strikeout to end the game.
“Ever since I’ve young, I’ve always been put in such situations to close out games,” Wilson said. “There is no better feeling than coming in with the bases loaded to close the game out. Our guys played great and their guys played great. It was a great game.”