The JV baseball team won once, but dropped three contests at the Katy ISD tournament held March 7-9.
The Cougs lost the opening contest to Morton Ranch, 13-6, on Thursday and fell to Bellaire, 9-2, on Friday before rebounding for their sole victory in the tournament on Saturday morning, besting Katy Paetow, 11-10. KHS finished the tournament with another loss, falling to Aldine MacArthur, 12-4, on Saturday.
Things started well for the Cougs in the first couple of innings against Morton Ranch, as the team sent 16 batters to the plate in the first two innings, managing to score six times. Unfortunately, a number of free passes and miscues on defense gave the Panthers eight runs in their first two innings. Three walks, two hit-batsmen, and a handful of errors in the final frame gave Morton Ranch another five runs and a comfortable margin of victory. Offensively, Michael Davey reached twice on HBPs and Cross Panalez (two BBs and a single – photo, left) reached in all of their plate appearances.
In the matchup with Bellaire, an error on the leadoff hitter in the first inning, followed by the third hitter reaching on a drop third strike went a long way towards setting the tone for how the ball game would go. The Cardinals plated four runners in the first inning, which would ultimately prove to be enough for the victory. Back-to-back singles by Jacob Hodges and Beau Robertson to open the second frame cut the Bellaire margin by one, but the bottom of the order failed to produce and left Robertson in scoring position. Bellaire got the run right back with a two-out walk followed by a double and the lead was back to four. The Cougs had their opportunities in the final frames – leaving three men in scoring position – but failed to come up with the timely hit necessary to get back into the game.
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The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a see-saw affair, with Kempner scoring two runs in the top of the first as Nick Spurlock (photo – right) and Michael Davey touched home plate before Spurlock took to the mound and worked a quick bottom of the first to bring up the KHS bats once again. But the Paetow hurler shut the Cougs down in the second and then the home team proceeded to send 11 batters to the plate in their half of the inning, scoring six times to take the lead. The Cougs answered with three of their own in the third as Hodges, Ross Reichardt, and Davey all reached base and came around to score and then tacked on four more in the fourth to take a 9-8 lead. Paetow rallied once again with two in the bottom of the fourth to jump back out to a one-run lead – setting the stage for the final inning. Brandon Phegley led off the fifth with a walk and was advanced by a Spurlock single. Both Cougar runners scampered home on a Hodges double for what ended up being the tying and winning runs.
Hodges got the start on the mound for KHS in the finale against MacArthur. He worked around two errors and a hit batsman in the top of the first inning, limiting the damage to just two runs. After the Cougs went 1-2-3 in their half of the first, the Generals tacked on four more runs, aided by the numbers eight and nine hitters reaching on error and a hit-by-pitch, upping their lead to 6-0.
Kempner got their first run of the game when Erik Neslony doubled and Phegley picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Phegley scored later in the inning, as did Hodges and Reichardt, with the left-handed hitting Reichardt also picking up an RBI – cutting the lead to 6-4. Phegley came on in relief of Hodges and worked a scoreless fourth to keep the Cougs in contention. But the wheels came off in the Generals’ fifth inning as multiple errors, a walk and a hit-batsman greatly aided MacArthur’s cause as they scored six times on just one, solitary single in the inning.
The JV team’s next game will be their first at Cougar Field, as they will host Ridge Point to open district play on March 12.