By Taylor Grafft
The Liberty Hill Panthers Baseball team failed to take advantage after scoring three runs in the first inning, and fell to Boerne, 6-3, in their 2014 season opener on Feb. 18.
The Panthers have not been able to practice as much as they would have liked because of the bad weather that has plagued Liberty Hill sports over the months of January and February.
“Boerne is a well-coached team and with the short days because of the weather we weren’t quite ready,” said Coach Mike Kristan. “Obviously being as high as we’re ranked this season, our opponents are going to be excited to play us. For the most part we did a pretty good job. It’s hard to find the positives right after a loss, but I think once we look at the score sheet we’ll find quite a few things that we did well.”
Coach Kristan will have all his players that were participating on the Runnin’ Panthers basketball team for the next game. Seniors Tristan Heidelberg and Tyler Vickers are set for their final season on the team, while sophomore Slater Foust looks to add a solid bat to the Panthers’ lineup this season.
“Those guys will add depth now that we have them back,” Kristan said. “They have a lot of experience and it will add some competition to our team. With so many games and tournaments this early in the season we’ll have a lot of players rotating in and out and we’ll get a chance to see who steps up and earns their spots once district starts.”
Foust played in the game against Boerne, despite playing in the bi-district playoff game against Glenn Rose with the basketball team the night before. Foust was subbed in, in the sixth inning and was walked twice at the plate.
Despite the loss to Boerne, the Panthers showed excellent plate discipline and made solid contact at the plate, but just couldn’t stretch their base hits into runs.
The Panthers took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when a chain of hits put runners on first and third base. A two-run double by the Panthers off the center field wall put them up two runs.
In their next at-bat, Liberty Hill hit a RBI-single to score the runner from second base and put the Panthers up 3-0.
Despite the big first inning and getting to Boerne’s ace early, the Panthers struggled against Boerne’s relievers and couldn’t push a runner across home plate for the rest of the game.
The Panthers put together a solid, multiple hit inning in the third, but could not get any base runners on a consistent basis. Boerne scored six unanswered runs against Liberty Hill. Their first run came in the top of the third when they hit a leadoff double off the right field wall.
Boerne attempted a bunt to move the runner over to second, but a throwing error by the pitcher allowed a runner to score. Boerne tied the game early in the fourth inning when they hit a leadoff triple and scored on a hit and run situation. The Liberty Hill centerfielder threw the ball away and allowed both runners to cross home plate.
Boerne then took the lead a few batters later when a sacrifice fly scored the runner from third base. Boerne scored one more run in the inning after the Liberty Hill pitcher hit a batter and walked two.
Boerne scored their final run in the seventh inning when they put together two base hits to put runners on first and second. The Liberty Hill centerfield missed a hard-hit line drive and allowed it to bounce to the warning track and one runner scored off the error.
The Panthers travel to Marble Falls to play in a tournament today through Sunday.