EARLY — On Tuesday night, the Early Longhorns hosted the Coleman Bluecats in a windy district matchup. If the first inning was any indication, it was going to be a long, high scoring affair. Things aren’t always what they seem, however, and the game was up and down for both teams all night long before Early earned an 11-4 victory.
The Bluecats opened the first inning with a bang, scoring four back-to-back runs with only one out on the board. At that point it seemed like Coleman would dominate from the start, but the Longhorns (10-8, 2-1) fought back, finally getting off the field after 22 minutes.
“I told them not to give up,” said Early head coach Todd Hatton. “Even though we were down early on in the game, there was still a lot of baseball to be left and they knew this.”
Once the Longhorns were up to bat in the bottom of the first it wasn’t their bats that helped them out, but rather having a good eye.
Three batters were walked in a row, loading the bases. When Jonathan Morales had his turn up to bat, the same happened to him, which brought Tristan Horton home to score. More of the same continued and two at-bats later, Trace Evans scored to shorten Coleman’s lead 4-2.
The next few innings were pretty much the exact opposite of the action that happened in the first.
In both the second and third innings, both teams went three up, three down.
The same happened in the top of the fourth too, but that all changed when the Longhorns went to the plate in the bottom half of that inning.
With two outs, Early’s C.J. Hanley was walked. Ryan Hill then came up to bat, hitting a grounder to outfield that resulted in a double and put Hanley on third base. Two pitches later, Hanley scored on a wild pitch, cutting Coleman’s lead to one run.
The next two batters were walked, loading the bases for Early yet again.
And, yet again, the next batter was walked which allowed Hill to score and tie the ballgame, 4-4.
Evans was next up for the Longhorns and he quickly got down in the count. Fortunately for Early, the next pitch resulted in a line drive to center field and it brought two more in to give the Longhorns a 6-4 lead.
In the fifth inning, Coleman’s offensive woes continued. While the Bluecats didn’t go three and out, they did fail to get runners in scoring position and ended the inning with no runs.
For the Longhorns, they continued to build on their lead, this time thanks to a sacrifice fly from Hill which gave Morales an opportunity to score after tagging up on third base.
Down 7-4 in the top of the sixth, the Bluecats needed answers in a hurry. They almost found them, but couldn’t capitalize on getting two runners in scoring position with only one out at the time.
Unlike Coleman, the Longhorns had no problem adding more runs to the board.
The walks continued and both Kyle Mercer and Horton got on base because of this. After trying to pickoff Horton, a bad throw resulted in Mercer scoring. The next at-bat was a sacrifice fly by Chase Keilers, allowing Horton to score as well.
After hitting a double, Evans was then brought in by Morales, who hit a double of his own. Hanley followed that up with another double, driving Morales in for another run.
Early could breathe a little more comfortably at this point, as the Longhorns led the Bluecats 11-4 at the end of the sixth.
The score would remain the same, as Coleman couldn’t get anything going in the end, as they lost to Early after leading the Longhorns 4-0 in the first inning.
“I’m proud of what we did tonight,” said Hatton. “It shows that we can keep fighting and we can put up the runs when it matters the most. We didn’t just lay down and take it. We fought back and came away with a big win. I couldn’t ask for much more.”