Here are the standings for all baseball districts involving Big Country schools through April 21:
Picture a high school baseball team that has 10 players who are either freshmen or sophomores.
Add a stat sheet that has only one home run for the entire ball club through 14 games. And for good measure, add the fact that the team’s top pitcher is a freshman.
Now try to guess what the team’s record would be at this point. Sub-.500? Perhaps .500 at best?
You’d be incorrect with both estimates.
The team in question is the 2019 Winters Blizzards, who enter today at 10-4 overall (6-2 in District 7-2A), having already posted more wins than they’ve managed over the past two years combined.
CLYDE — While it isn’t impossible for a high school baseball team to reach the state tournament without pitching depth, one would likely need two things in order to achieve it: extraordinary hitting and/or extraordinary luck.
Both avenues are longshots, with hitting serving as compensation and luck helping the pitching-challenged to avoid three-game series via successful coin flips.
The 2019 Clyde Bulldogs (18-4, 7-1 District 5-3A) have no such concern. And it’s a good thing, coming in a region that features Wall, Brock and Breckenridge — ranked first, third and 15th respectively by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
CLYDE — With Clyde’s Payton Laughlin on the hill, the Anson Tigers knew coming into Tuesday’s District 5-3A road game that they would have to take advantage of what few opportunities that came their way.
Unfortunately for AHS, Laughlin was able to close the door nearly every time it opened, stranding four Tigers in scoring position in a 5-1 Clyde win.
Tossing a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts, Laughlin (6-1) overcame three errors behind him and three of his own walks to earn the win with his seventh complete game of the year. His ERA dropped to 1.12 in the process.
Even before they had pulled off a stunning upset of Brock on Friday night, there were whispers that the 2019 Breckenridge baseball team was one of the best the Buckaroos have ever fielded.
Friday’s 3-0 win over the top-ranked Eagles might confirm it in the long run, though a 19-2-1 start may suffice in the view of some.
In the meantime, first-year coach Kevin Bartley’s crew is bringing a noticeable level of relaxed confidence to the table in a season where one of their primary goals from the outset was to simply enjoy the game.
BROCK — For at least three full innings during Friday’s game at top-ranked Brock, Breckenridge starting pitcher Owen Woodward was nervous, his breaking ball was hanging and he wasn’t quite sure if he and the Buckaroos were going to pull off the upset they had in mind.
But after being staked to 1-0 lead in the third inning, the junior right-hander settled in, his curve developed a nasty snap in the late innings and he finished with a jaw-dropping three-hit shutout in a shocking 3-0 Breckenridge win.
Cooper junior Braiden Hill has a lot of physical tools that make him a successful starting pitcher. He’s big, he throws hard and he’s got a good second pitch he can turn to when that fastball’s not going quite where he wants it to.
But it’s Hill’s mentality that has taken him from a solid rotation piece for coach Cody Salyers last season to the unquestioned ace of the Cougar pitching staff this year.
The strong-armed right-hander believes he’s better than every batter he faces, and it’s his goal each at-bat to prove that.