By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – The strange internal logic of the bat and ball is never to be entirely solved by even the most wisened initiates, who become wisened the moment they accept that much of the pleasure consists in feeling dumbfounded.
A week ago, Del Valle pitcher Greg Perez shut out New Braunfels, 4-0, in one of the signature early results of the District 26-4A schedule. Wednesday night, the Hays Rebels wandered down to New Braunfels and took their toughest loss so far, a 1-0 defeat wasting a two-hit, ten-strikeout performance by starting pitcher Paul Breyfogle.
So, what was going to happen Tuesday night at Rebel Field, where Perez was to pitch for Del Valle against the Rebels?
Well, of course, the Rebels laid out a 12-0 drubbing, ending on the ten-run rule when Clayton Rogers hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
That’s baseball. Wednesday night, the Hays hitters smacked batting practice offerings from Head Coach Doug Ragsdale out of the park at will, then they swung for the fences during the game and lost, 1-0. Thursday night, Ragsdale prevailed on the hitters to swing for contact, so they ended up banging out 13 hits and scoring 12 runs against one of the district’s top pitchers to end the game early.
“We did not hit the ball well last night against New Braunfels,” Ragsdale said. “Tonight, we came out with the right idea and really took the approach to hit the ball.”
Rogers and Brandon Lawrence both finished the night four-for-four for Hays, which scored two runs in the first and third innings for a 4-0 lead. The Rebels opened the gates in the fourth and fifth with four runs in each of those innings.
The heavy Hays hitting came in handy for starting pitcher David Casas, who said he started the night without his usual curve ball. Oddly enough, the curve came back the moment his teammates spotted him a couple runs. Casas struck out six and allowed three hits in his five innings.
“Having the run support, you can try some things on the mound,” Casas said. “And (catcher) Nick (DeSantiago) helped a lot keeping me straight about my arm angle, getting calls on the corners and staying in front of pitches.”
Indeed, said Ragsdale, DeSantiago played his best game of the year behind the plate Tuesday night. Then again, it was a good night for everyone, especially Rogers, who didn’t have to go hungry for very long.
Batting in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and an 8-0 Hays lead, Rogers probably could have ended the game on ten-run rule with any kind of hit. It would figure that on a night when the Rebels weren’t swinging for the fences, Rogers would end the game by homering, anyway.
“I was just trying to put two runs home so we could go home and eat,” Rogers said. “I wasn’t looking for a home run, but I got a fat one to hit.”
At 8-9 overall, the Rebels still are trying to reach .500 after a tough pre-district schedule. However, they’re in the early thick in District 26-4A at 3-1 after knocking Del Valle from the unbeatens to 3-1. New Braunfels Canyon started Thursday night unbeaten in the district and Steele started the night with one loss in the league.
Next week, the Rebels go to Schertz Clemens on Tuesday, then to Canyon on Friday.