The Marble Falls High School baseball team is displaying plenty of characteristics coaches want to see from athletes: spunk, belief, a never-die attitude, and a willingness to compete until the final out.
Head coach Tyler Porter points to two recent examples to illustrate those traits: come-from-behind wins against Fredericksburg 5-4 March 5 and Johnson City 3-2 March 3.
The Mustangs (3-3) trailed the Billies 3-1 then took a 4-3 lead only to see Fredericksburg tie the game. Senior Jon “Gouda” Zamarrippa, who recently committed to play baseball at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, hit a sacrifice flyball to bring in the winning run. He and sophomore Cale Cochran each had 2 RBIs.
“I like the fact we took care of business and everything went as it should,” Porter said. “It shows we’re going to win the games we should. We’re heading in the right direction.”
Porter has several reasons for optimism beginning with the pitching staff led by senior Hudson McBryde, considered the Mustangs’ ace. Others include senior Jake Becker, who recently committed to play football for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, juniors Brady Elwartowski, Bryce Atkinson and Cochran, and sophomore Evan Elwartowski.
“We have more options than last year,” the coach said. “We have good arms. For games that are played twice a week, I feel good.”
Atkinson and Cochran pitched against Fredericksburg and each had 2 strikeouts.
Porter said he’s looking for improvement on the defense, adding he can address that with specific drills in practice.
“We’re not where we need to be for sure,” he said. “Consistency is the key. We tend to kick it around. It goes back to throwing. We’re not where we need to be yet.”
Sophomore catcher Isaias Roman returns as the starting catcher. Porter said the underclassman learned some valuable lessons in 2021 that are paying off now.
“They made him a better sophomore catcher,” he said. “He’s still growing. He’s headed in the right direction and is getting to where we want him to be. He’s a kid who can play (college baseball) after high school if he wants to. I think he has the physical ability and the intelligence.”
The coach also wants to see better performances at the plate, calling the offense inconsistent though that’s not unusual for early in the season.
He pointed to the 9-5 win against Burnet March 4 for how he wants to see the Mustangs compete. Marble Falls led 4-0 in the first inning and 6-0 by the end of the second. McBryde pitched six innings and struck out six. Elwartowski pitched the final inning, striking out two and forced the third into a groundout to end the contest.
District 25-5A, of which Marble Falls is a member, has four teams consistently ranked in Class 5A polls. They are Leander Rouse at No. 3, Georgetown High at No. 11, Liberty Hill and Cedar Park. The Mustangs begin district play against Cedar Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at Scearce Field, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls, then travel to Georgetown, 2211 N. Austin Ave., on Thursday, March 17, for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
“I feel better than I have in the past,” Porter said. “It’s a better feeling. I think we have a chance to make noise in a good 5A district. I’m proud of where we are and what we’re putting in. I want the kids to see some of the results.”
Marble Falls returns to action this week at the Blanco tournament Saturday, March 12. The Mustangs at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. The baseball field is across the street from Blanco High School, 1215 Fourth St. (FM 1623).