Wildcats sweep Shaw
Houlka faces Thrasher this week
By Lisa Voyles
HOULKA – The Houlka Wildcats cruised through their play-in round with Shaw last weekend, but Coach McDonald knows the road to Jackson will get steeper from here.
The Wildcats blasted Shaw, 18-5, in their first game and got off to a good start in GameTtwo as well.
The Shaw boys went three-up, three-down in the first inning and the Wildcats came out swinging with Sawyer Byars getting a single over second and Braxton Peden coming in to run for the catcher. Tyreque Reed ripped one past second base for a single and sent Peden to third and Marquise Vance took first after being hit by a pitch. Josh Clair tried to clear the bases and came close with a three RBI triple and Dillon Easely scored Clair on a single over second then stole second at Wyatt Esterley’s at-bat. Esterley hit a looper over third and just on the fair side of the line and Conner Davidson scored Esterley with a single to put the Wildcats up 5-0 at the close of the first inning.
Pitcher Tyreque Reed struck out two and Byars recovered a pass ball for an out to first to shut down the Hawks in the top of the second and the Wildcats bats kept on swinging with Craid Peden getting a leadoff single and Byars doubling on a bunt and Shaw error. Reed came in with a triple to score Craig Peden and courtesy runner, Braxton Peden, and Vance’s sac fly scored another run for an 8-0 lead through two innings.
The Wildcats cruised to the 9-0 shutout in 5 1/2 innings.
While Coach McDonald is pleased with the effort, he sees areas that need to be honed and sharpened.
“We’ve got to play defense,” McDonald said. “We’ve had too many errors this season. We had zero errors Friday and zero errors Saturday. If we can continue to do that we’ll be okay.”
The Wildcats will face the Thrasher Rebels (15-7, 11-0) in the next round of playoffs.
“I know they won their division and they’ve got a couple of brothers out there who are pretty strong in both pitching and catching,” McDonald said. “My boys can put the ball in play. I think we can hit with anyone out there. But we’ve got to play defense.”
The series begins in Thrasher Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and returns to Houlka Friday at 6 p.m. Game three, if needed, will be played in Thrasher Saturday at 2 p.m.