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Mustangs’ defense paves the way for shutout win over Grizzlies

The Marble Falls High School baseball team played its most complete game in a 7-0 win against Leander Glenn April 22.

The Mustangs (7-13, 3-9 District 25-5A) scored four runs in the first inning and three in the second for the victory. Meanwhile, senior pitcher Hudson McBryde and the defense retired the first two Grizzlie batters in every inning.

“We feed off each other,” McBryde said. “In any game when the pitcher is throwing strikes and the defense is making plays, that’s what you want. As a pitcher you want the defense to make plays behind you.”

McBryde faced 26 batters and gave up four hits and one free base and struck out four.

“That’s a tribute to Hudson and him throwing strikes,” head coach Tyler Porter said. “The pitcher and the defense go together. If you’re pitching well and throwing strikes, your defense is making plays. It’s easier to pound the zone cause you trust your defense.”

Even a solid hit did little to get the Grizzlies going. That’s because strong winds kept long balls inside the park and allowed outfielders to run underneath them for outs. The Mustangs got outs when balls where hit in foul territory, too.

“As an opposing team, it’s frustrating,” Porter said.

Meanwhile, the Mustang batters attacked Glenn from the start. Lead-off batter Jake Carter and No. 2 batter Isaias Roman each drew free bases, while Cale Cochran reached on an error. Jake Becker’s walk scored the first run. Bryce Atkinson and Evan Nickowski each hit RBI singles, while McBryde was hit by a pitch that brought in the fourth run. By then Glenn changed pitchers and the inning ended on two strikeouts. Still Marble Falls sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning.

Jon “Gouda” Zamarippa began the second inning with a single, while Cochran added a double. Becker drew another walk that set up Atkinson and Nickowski with bases loaded.

Atkinson hit an RBI single to right field, while Nickowski hit a 2 RBI single to center-right field for the final three runs of the contest.

“It’s huge,” Porter said of the early run support. “And it’s hard to screw it up if you’re playing good defense.”

The Mustangs have shown a commitment to defense as illustrated by the last four games: a 5-4 loss to Georgetown April 12 and a 4-2 loss at Liberty Hill April 19 to go with a 6-1 home win against Leander April 14 and the 7-0 victory against Glenn.

“The big change has been our defense,” Porter said.

Against Liberty Hill, a misplayed flyball in the first inning proved to be the difference in the contest. Liberty Hill scored all the runs in needed at the beginning for the win. Porter noted a two-run loss illustrates how much the team has improved. Earlier in the season Liberty Hill beat Marble Falls 13-3.

“There was not good communication on a flyball,” he said. “A 4-2 loss is not bad even though I don’t believe in moral victories.”

Marble Falls plays a rare Saturday game April 23 when it welcomes Llano for a 2 p.m. first pitch at Scearce Field, 2101 Mustang Drive.

McBryde summed up the feelings of the Mustangs as they turn their attention to the final three games of the regular season.

“I felt good, I felt confident,” he said. “We play really well at home. Early in the season, we didn’t play well versus (Glenn). We felt hungry for that win.”

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