By Chuck Licata and Quinton Prior
Editorâs note: LibertyHillSports.com and The Leader would like to thank Quinton Prior, Lorri and Donnie Cunningham, James and Elaine Macias, Blaine and Trish Brown and all the other parents who helped us compile results and otherwise gave their time for the summer team games and recaps.
Anyone who knows the Liberty Hill High School baseball program knows the following statement holds a high level of truth: the 2012 LHHS Panthers won the District 25-3A title on the strength of the last two years the players played summer ball together.
The summer version of this yearâs Panthers played well and showed great chemistry during a recently finished 17-5-1 campagn. The Panthers finished 2-2 last week, with wins over a Round Rock select team and Austin Bowie while losing the second game of a doubleheader to the RR select team as well as a game to Elgin. Team members included Mason Baty, Jadon Boatright, Marshall Brown, Jessie Cousins, Garrett Cunningham, Stephen Greenlees,Christopher Grumbles, Tristan Heidelberg, Javy Lozoya, Spencer Pennington, , Kannon Prior, Jason Reeves, Cody Remore, Colby Schmidt, Colt Stofle, Jake Stalder, Tyler Vickers and Brandon Wells.
The squad was coached by recent LHHS graduates Ryan Fickel (a 2011 LHHS grad who is entering his sophomore season at Paris Junior College) and 2012 LHHS grads (and former players) Coach Kolby Keith and Jake Ramirez.
The following is a summary of the four games played last week.
LHHS 5, Round Rock 4 (Game 1)
The Panthers needed just two batters to claim a bottom-of-the-sixth victory over a Round Rock 18U select baseball team.
Colt Stofle (1-for-1, two runs scored, reaching base via single, walk and hit-by-pitch) led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and immediately stole second. Jason Reeves (2-for-3 with one RBI) then drilled a 2-0 pitch to left field for an RBI single that plated Stofle for a 5-4 win.
The Panthers didnât exactly explode on offense, tallying just six hits (two by Reeves, one each by Stofle, Jesse Cousins, Marshall Brown and Jake Stalder) but the squad made those hits count. Besides Reevesâ RBI hit, Stalder drove in a fourth-inning run with a single while Brownâs hit resulted in a two-run error by the Round Rock right fielder on the same play.
Reeves, the only LH hurler, pitched six innings. He gave up all four runs in the first three innings; after that, he clamped down and pitched to the minimum nine batters in the last three frames, with the only hiccup a single (the runner was then thrown out by catcher Cody Remore as he tried to advance on a wild pitch). Reeves struck out seven while walking none and giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits.
Round Rock 3, LHHS 2 (Game 2)
The Round Rock team handed Liberty Hill âa taste of its own medicine,â scoring two runs in the last inning July 17 to escape with a 3-2 victory.
Round Rock poutnded our three hits (including a double and two singles) while scoring the game-winning runs with just one out in the bottom of the seventh for the win.
The Panthers (who were the visiting team in this game) took a 2-1 lead after the first two innings, scoring on an RBI single by Cody Remore (2-for-3, RBI and a stolen base) in the first and on a double-steal in the second inning (Jesse Cousins stole home on the front end of the double steal).
Other LHHS contributors included Jake Stalder (1-for-3, one run and reached base on an error) and Tyler Vickers and Christopher Grumbles, who each reached base on a strikeout-passed ball.
Remore went the entire distance on the mound, giving up eight hits and three runs (just one earned) while walking two and striking out six on 93 pitches.
Elgin 6, LHHS 4
The Panthers spot the Wildcats six runs Wednesday (July 18) and never recovered. The Wildcats scored three runs in the top of the first and one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings.
A late surge off the bench with Jason Reeves (1-for-1, run scored), Colt Stofle (1-for-1) and Jake Stalder (2-for-4 with an RBI) hitting three singles in a row in the bottom of the seventh (closing the gap to 6-4) was not enough this time around.
Marshall Brown came into the game to pitch the final three innings and faced the minimum nine batters , striking out four of them.
Mason Baty accounted for the other RBI while Spencer Pennington, Christopher Grumbles (1-for-2) and Cody Remore (1-for-3) scored the teamâs other three runs.
LHHS 6, Bowie 3
The Panthers traveled south to Bowie High School and finished out the summer season with a two-hour daylight contest against the host Bulldogs.
The Panthers responded by scoring one run in each of the first four innings then adding a two-spot in the top of the sixth to walk away with a season-closing victory.
Tyler Vickers (2-for-2, two runs and two steals) walked with one out in the first, stole second base and scored as Cody Remore (0-f-r-3, reached base three times) reached on a Bowie error.
LH made it 2-0 in the second when Jason Reeves (1-for-2, stolen base and run scored) was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice by Stephen Greenlees (0-for-1), moved to third on a single by Tristan Heidelberg (1-for-2, stolen base) and scored on the front end of a double-steal along with Heidelberg.
The Panthers made it 3-0 in the third as Vickers led off with an infield single, stole second and came around on an RBI single by Mason Baty (1-for-3, RBI).
Meantime, Heidelberg pitched the first five innings and gave up no hits. He walked four and struck out two in his game-winning performance, which saw him throw 55 pitches. Jake Stalder pitched the sixth inning, giving up one unearned run on one hit, two walks and two strikeouts. Mason Baty finished out the victory giving up two unearned runs.
Offensively, LH catcher Garrett Cunningham reached base three times via two walks and a triple and scored twice.
Spencer Pennington added a single in one at-bat; he scored along with Cunningham in the two-run sixth inning. Javy Lozoya drove in a run with a single in his only at-bat of the game.