Liberty Hill duels with Rouse in second baseball scrimmage

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By MIKE SCHOEFFEL

The Liberty Hill baseball team played its second scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday night, traveling to Rouse High School in Leander for a full nine-inning game.

For the first time this preseason, the scoreboard was turned on, and although it read 11-3 in favor of Rouse after the last out, final scores in scrimmages are generally viewed as secondary to improvement and situational training.

Assistant coach Rudy Acevedo confirmed that viewpoint after the game.

“It was good for some of the more inexperienced kids to come out here and get a feel for a real-game atmosphere,” he said. “Do we put a lot of stock in the score? No, because we’re trying to play as many kids as possible to see how they can handle the varsity experience.”

“It’s more about practicing game situations than looking at the scoreboard,” he added.

Head coach Mike Kristan wasn’t present, opting to stay in Liberty Hill to coach the two sub-varsity games against Rouse, which took place at 5 and 7 p.m. With Kristan absent, Acevedo filled in as the third base coach and took over the job of analyst at game’s end. He saw some things he was impressed with, but also picked out areas in which the Panthers need to improve.

“I thought we moved well around the bases,” he said. “And I think our communication is right where it needs to be. Obviously our bats needs come along a little bit. We made decent contact, but we didn’t get hits in key situations.”

“The kids just need to keep working hard and by the time the regular season rolls around, we’ll be in good shape,” he added.

Acevedo said he threw as many pitchers as he could, to see what he and the coaching staff are working with. While he admitted to being impressed with some, he admitted that “there definitely areas for improvement.” One hurler Acevedo was particularly impressed with freshman Chandler Freeman, who recorded a couple of strikeouts in his first meaningful varsity appearance.

“That’s impressive for a freshman to go out there and stand strong,” said the coach. “He was one of a few guys I think gained some really valuable experience tonight.”

By the end of the seventh inning, each team had three hits, yet Rouse led 7-0. Liberty Hill finally got on the board in the top of the eighth, when Connor Thompson scored on an Ethan Shirey ground out. The Panthers scored their second run with a bases-loaded walk by Jaret Huddleston later in the inning.

Rouse added three more runs before the night came to a close, while Liberty Hill tacked on one in the ninth to bring the final to 11-3. After the game, Acevedo reflected on the nights events.

“Sometimes you have good games, sometimes you have bad games,” he said. “And even if the score isn’t all that meaningful, the guys still think about it. Let’s see what happens after a game like, let’s see if they can come back and regroup.”

Liberty Hill has one more scrimmage on its schedule (Feb. 19 at Marble Falls) before hosting the regular season opener against Boerne on Feb. 23. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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