Killeen Daily Herald
Giving up a first-inning, unearned run was not the type of discipline and focus first-year Shoemaker coach Harry Zambrana has been teaching. The 6 2/3 innings of almost shut-down ball that followed was more like it.
“That was our whole game plan this whole year — we’re going to be a pretty good defensive team,” Zambrana said.
Then, a couple of big hits will go a long way.
John Guiets hit a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the third inning, Kyle Perez added a solo shot to lead off the sixth and the Grey Wolves gave Zambrana a 6-1 debut win over Killeen in the season opener for both teams Monday at Shoemaker.
“We’ve just been working real hard on discipline and staying focused and outhustling those guys. And, when we talk about outhustling people, it turns up our focus a little bit,” said Zambrana, who was hired last summer to replace Randy Culp who is now an assistant baseball coach at Ellison.
“As you can see, we had that one bad inning — we had a couple walks, we had a little error to start us off — but after that, those kids settled down and got after it.” Zambrana added. “It might have been first-game jitters.
Hopefully, that was it.”
After allowing the unearned run in the top of the first inning, Shoemaker (1-0) tied the game on Roberto Ramos’ RBI single in the bottom of the second and Guiets’ two-run shot over the left-field fence also plated Raven Sauceda for a 3-1 Shoemaker lead.
“Not off that bat, but when I saw it in the air, I kind of had a feeling it would go out,” Guiets said of his bomb. “Momentum. That one swing of the bat, it started rolling. Our momentum just started rolling and didn’t stop.”
Killeen (0-1) left the bases loaded after scoring its only run in the first and then stranded runners at second and third in the second inning. The Roos left three more runners stranded in scoring position in the fifth and sixth inning, including runners at second and third again in the fifth.
“People have got to hit the ball when we’ve got runners in scoring position,” Killeen coach Mark Carranza said. “We had one out with bases loaded and didn’t score a run. You can squeeze and get a run easy, but this early, you want to hit the ball, see who’s going to hit it.”
Guiets added an RBI single in the fifth for the Grey Wolves and Perez’s shot led off Shoemaker’s two-run sixth. One out later, Ramos hit an infield single and scored on a bases-loaded sacrifice by Sauceda
Sauceda also tripled and scored in the fifth.
“Not real satisfied with our hitting,” Zambrana said. “I think we had more strikes than I’d like — I wish we’d put the ball in play a little bit more, but, in the later innings when they settled down, we did hit the ball and we got lucky and hit two out. That helps.”
Tyler Gordon reached for Killeen on an opening-pitch error by Ramos, Shoemaker’s third baseman, in the first inning. Gordon then scored on a Zach Blankenship single. Shoemaker catcher Xavier Wilson threw Blankenship out at second as the Roos’ shortstop was trying to advance a base on the Grey Wolves’ throw home.
Shoemaker starting pitcher Roberto Delgado walked the Roos’ next three batters, twice on full-count pitches, but got out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Garrett Gaskamp and Will Childers. Delgado then got out of the second inning when Gordon and Blankenship both grounded out.
Killeen courtesy runner Craig Bill was thrown out trying steal third base in the third inning and Childers was caught in a rundown between second and third in the fourth inning.
“We played a good game, there wasn’t any errors, but I mean, we’ve got to hit the ball better and I think we will, just give it time,” Carranza said. “I think you’ve got some guys, they’ve got to step up at the plate and they’ve got to swing the bat. You expect them to hit it big, they ought to start hitting it big.”