A complete game. That’s what Marble Falls High School baseball coach Tyler Porter kept telling his players was the key to victory. He wanted to see the Mustangs (6-12, 2-8 District 25-5A) get consistent pitching and the defense make every routine play with the batters making solid contact and hitting in the gaps.
Against Leander April 14, Porter got what he wanted in a 6-1 victory in a contest his team led from start to finish.
“All three phases looked good,” he said. “There weren’t many walks, we had good pitching and hitting.”
Marble Falls was led by seniors Hudson McBryde and Jake Becker. McBryde pitched six innings and gave up 1 earned run off 6 hits with 3 walks, hit one batter with a pitch, and struck out three. Becker took the mound in the seventh and forced the Lions (14-8, 5-6) to go three up, three down after he led the Mustangs’ offensive charge by going 3 for 3 at the plate highlighted by 2 triples that produced 3 RBIs and he scored two runs.
The duo were all smiles after the contest as they reflected on how the other’s performance kept the adrenaline pumping for seven innings.
“When Hudson’s pitching, and he’s putting up zeroes on his side, it makes it so much easier,” Becker said. “It was easy for me to come in after Hudson. He gave me (room) for mistakes.”
“It definitely makes you more confident,” McBryde said of the run production. “And you can’t let your brother outdo you.”
McBryde noted the Mustangs had come close to winning other recent games, including the 5-4 setback to Georgetown April 12 and the 12-5 loss to Leander Rouse April 8 where Marble Falls led 5-3 going into the bottom of third inning.
Porter said coaches considered a different reliever for McBryde but decided on Becker after seeing him throw, noting he looked good physically and mentally and was ready to slam the door on the Lions.
The coach added that McBryde gave another steady performance.
“With Hudson you always seem ungrateful because you get used to seeing him so good,” he said. “This is the best compliment you can give him — he gets the most out of his talent. He’s a good example for young kids on how to maximize your potential.”
The Mustangs’ defensive effort wasn’t lost on Porter.
“I think we needed to get better at dominating the routine plays: fielding it and throwing it,” he said. “It’s more mental and physical and getting better at communication. I hope it’s all starting to click for them.”
Becker’s play in the second inning sent a clear message. After Cale Cochran singled, pitcher Harrison Thayer struck out two, but Evan Nickowski reached base on an error. That set up Becker for his first triple of the night that easily scored his teammates. He trotted home when catcher Caden Sisson threw to first after a dropped third strike allowed batter Brady Elwartowski to get to first base.
Becker singled in the fourth inning and was stranded and ended his offensive effort with a RBI triple hit to center-right field that scored Nickowski, who reached base on a double. Becker slid head first into third and was standing as the ball got to the third baseman.
“I saw the ball really well,” he said. “I’m definitely glad coach Porter singled me around, I’m glad he did. It worked out in my favor.”
Porter elaborated on why he brought Becker around from second to third.
“A lot of it is knowing your kids,” he said. “He’s a fast kid, and you have to know when the outfield gets to the ball and have some idea of what kind of throw has to be made, a perfect throw to get him. He’s a fast kid and luck was on his side.”
Senior Jon “Gouda” Zamarippa was 2 for 3 at the plate and scored a run when Bryce Atkinson reached base on an error. Jake Carter sent a ball deep to right field that brought Becker home in the sixth inning to end the Mustangs’ scoring.
Winning is always welcome, and this victory came just in time. Porter noted that as people get older, they better embrace planning and planting seeds for success.
“You talk about process, and it’s frustrating as a teenager when you’re not getting the results,” he said. “If they buy into the process, eventually they’ll start working out. We’re getting better and better, and it’s fun to watch.”
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