Two tournaments on consecutive weeks have stretched the Kempner Cougar Varsity Baseball team to its limits. First 4 games in 2 days in Corpus Christi where the Cougars went 2-2 against some of the better teams in the state including Corpus Christi Calallen, Vela, Robstown, and John Paul II. Then the team took the field 5 days later as one of the host teams in the Kempner/Austin/Travis Baseball tournament. This tournament brought in teams from across the city, including Kingwood Park, Sweeney, Katy Taylor, Clear Springs, Memorial, Spring and Klein Forest.
The number of games during these two weekends placed the pitching of the Cougars under a uniuqe level of stress that they will not normally see, because of the number of games played and the pitcher rest rules that are in place to protect a pitcher from over use and injury. Even though there was enough time between the tournaments for all pitchers to be available the Kempner Coaches, also had to take into account that the first district game would be five days from the first game of the tournament and only three from the last. With that information and the fact that the Cougars were looking at chasing a district title and hoping for a long run in the playoffs, Coach Jones was careful not to overextend any of the arms that he and the team are counting on for the remainder of the season. The cougars were not the only team facing these challenges and because of that there were several very exciting and dramatic games at Cougar Field over the past three days.
Kempner started out with a strong outing with a 15-0 run rule victory over an over matched but game Chavez squad. Simeon Woods Richardson started the game and got the win facing two over the minimum over three innings. He allowed one hit and one walk in his limited outing.
The Cougars then faced Sweeney and despite a strong outing by the Noah Huerta and Kendall Jones the defense had five errors in a 5-2 loss. The next three games all ended up with the same formula, The Cougar pitchers would keep the game competitive but it seemed that at the key moment in the game there would be a defensive lapse that kept the Cougars from getting out of an inning with little or no damage on the scoreboard, or allowed the other team to break the inning open. Over the last four games the Cougars defense committed 17 errors most of which led to unearned runs and a 0-4 record for the duration of the tournament.
Despite the challenges in the field, the Cougar offense remained aggressive both in the batters box and on the base paths. They seemed determined to not let the mistakes transition over to that side of the game. Alec Carr, Simeon Woods Richardson, Alex Cellner, and Kendall Jones all had multiple quality at-bats in the games they played. While the pitching and defense seemed to be just a little off the offense was the victim of multiple outstanding defensive plays that seemed to cut off any momentum that the Cougars were generating on the bases.
When talking to Coach Jones about the past two weeks he shared the following. “We’re just dealing with the adversity that baseball presents. The big picture of success is learning how to deal with tough times….and that’s what we’re going through….” Also it was noted by several players that District play which is the most important part of the season is far different than the past two weeks, both with fewer games, but all have a much higher level of intensity required.
The Cougar Varsity opens district play up on Tuesday at Ridge Point at 7:30pm.