San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 15th, 2008
Rebels start district strong

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

BUDA – More proof that baseball is more intriguing than any other game surfaced Friday night at Hays High School, where the difference between a close game and a run-rule blowout surfaced with every two-strike pitch.

The Hays Rebels put an 11-0 whipping on the Lehman Lobos in a game called after four and one-half innings because of the ten-run rule. The Rebels nickel-and-dimed Lehman with small ball. The only big blast was a three-run homer by Nick DeSantiago in the third inning.

On five different occasions, however, Hays batters turned two-strike pitches into base hits, which extended innings and always made it seem for the Lobos as if they’d never get off the field.

“We had some hits with two strikes,” Hays Coach Doug Ragsdale said. “Whenever you can turn a situation like that into offense, that’s a huge advantage.”

Said Lehman Coach Brock Rumfield about the Hays hitters, “They did a good job of shortening up with two strikes and hitting the ball up the middle. As a coach, that’s what you want to teach.”

Brandon Lawrence led off the game for Hays with a double after falling down two strikes. Clayton Rogers also doubled with two strikes. Lawrence, Colton Boothe and Jon Gonzales all singled with two strikes.

For all the Hays hitting, the game’s true hero might have been Hays pitcher David Casas, who did a fair amount of hitting on his own. From the batter’s box, Casas went one-for-two with a sacrifice fly and three RBI. As a pitcher, he gave up just one hit in five innings while striking out six.

The sudden surge of offense for Hays coincides with the end of a difficult pre-district schedule and, perhaps, a dissipation of the crud that has been going around Hays County for the last two months. Several players have been down with strep throat or whatever is the blend of fever and bronchitis that has made itself at home in the area.

Furthermore, the Rebels have limped through their first 16 games without two of their leading pitchers, Rogers and Gonzales. Rogers is recovering from an arm injury and may be able to pitch soon. Gonzales won’t pitch this season because of shoulder surgery over the winter.

And the early portion of the schedule has been tough, including challenging assignments in the San Marcos Tournament and the Austin Tournament.

But with players coming back from the crud and the familiar faces of District 26-4A in sight, the Rebels are off to the right kind of start for defending their district title. They beat Lockhart, 9-4, Wednesday to start their district schedule.

“We had a pretty tough pre-district schedule,” Ragsdale said. “We’re just now getting to the point where we’re getting our hitters together and hitting pretty well.”

A case in point might be DeSantiago, whose three-run bomb gave Hays a 9-0 lead.

“He’s been a little bit off,” Ragsdale said. “Everybody is throwing him off-speed stuff. It’s a learning process. He’s learning to stay back. But if he gets a pitch he can drive, he can drive it.”

Lehman fell to 0-2 in the district and 4-9 overall.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” Rumfield said. “We have to keep practicing.”

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