EARLY — Just like their counterparts, the Early and Bangs baseball teams opened up District 6-3A play Tuesday night against each other. Unlike the softball games before it, however, the game wasn’t a back-and-forth contest, with Early shutting out the Dragons 4-0.

According to Longhorns head coach Todd Hatton, he couldn’t have asked for a better outcome to start district.

“I told these guys to be ready with this being a rivalry,” said Hatton. “I feel like we came out and played well in all aspects of the game. On the mound I really liked what I saw, as well with our fielding too. Our bats could have come alive a little more, especially earlier on in the game, but we got the job done. Overall I liked what I saw and I’m proud of what they did tonight.”

For the most part, the game was rather quiet. Defense was definitely the name of the game, as neither team did much offensively the first few innings.

That slightly changed in the third inning, when the Longhorns (9-7, 1-0) managed to take the lead when a bases-loaded walk by Chase Keilers scored Brandon Lombrano.

The defensive trend continued in the fourth for both sides and that was the case in the top of the fifth as well.

In the bottom of that inning though, Early saw success while at bat.

Tristan Horton hit a grounder to the outfield which resulted in a double, allowing Kyler Mercer to score to give the Horns a 2-0 lead. Trace Evans then followed that up with a single that brought in Horton to make it 3-0.

Early would add one more run as Keilers bunted home Evans to make it 4-0.

For Bangs (2-10, 0-1) head coach Keith Meador, he feels his team needs to improve quickly, especially on offense.

“We have got to score runs,” Meador said. “If you don’t score, you don’t win ballgames. It’s real tough not to score and to end up with a win.

“I still saw some things I really liked though. Our pitching, minus the three-run inning, was spot on tonight. I felt good about what we did defensively. We just need to build on that since we’re starting district play.”