AUBREY – Two big innings and a stand out performance by a sophomore pitcher told the tale Friday at Aubrey as the Chaparrals smothered Anna, 7-0. Aided by eight walks and a pair of Coyote errors, Aubrey plated four runs in the third inning and three in the sixth while winning pitcher Zak Taylor kept Anna batters mostly at bay.
The loss dropped the Coyotes to 0-2 in the district race – not a place Anna head coach Joey Hector wanted or expected to be at this point. “I’m kind of concerned about our approach at the plate, offensively,” he said. “And we’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t doing what they’re capable of doing. They’re trying to do too much. It’s the mental side of what we’re doing that’s a little bit concerning to me.
“I thought we played with them outside those two innings. I think most of the guys that scored were free passes or infield hits. We walked eight or nine people and we didn’t swing the bat. We’ve got about two or three guys who are swinging the bat. The rest of us, we are just not having a very good approach.” Hot-hitting Jacob Odom led Coyote batters this night with a 2-for-3 night.
Anna starter Zach Howard allowed one hit and two earned runs over 4.2 innings, with the eight walks and two strike outs. Derek Kirschner came on in the fifth and finished the contest, permitting four hits and three earned runs.
Aubrey’s Taylor worked into the seventh inning, posting 11 strikeouts and four walks with five hits, before giving way to Bryce Bacon for the final three outs. “He’s been phenomenal for us,” Chaps head coach Nathan Henry said of Taylor. “He did a real good job tonight, mixing up eye level, changing spots. When he throws, he’s got some good run on his ball and he had it tonight.”
Aubrey’s big third inning started with a pop out to Rawley Hector at short, but an error at second base and a walk came next. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, another base on balls scored the Chaps’ first run. A single to left made it 2-0 and another walk followed, plating a third run. Jaden Adams then gathered in a fly ball to center for Out 2 as a tagging runner scored for a 4-0 lead. The heads-up Adams fired to Hector as the run scored to get a Chap at second for an inning-ending double play.
In the fifth, the Coyotes got two aboard but a ground out to short ended the rally threat. In Aubrey’s half of the frame, Howard retired the first two batters with ground outs but three walks followed. Kirschner came on with the bases loaded, down 4-0, and ended the frame with a ground-out to second baseman Josh Packard.
In Anna’s sixth, Odom ripped a lead-off double to right but Taylor would strikeout out the next three Coyotes. Aubrey led off its half of the sixth with back-to-back singles, setting the table for Jaxon Holder who drilled the Chaps’ only extra-base hit of night - an RBI-double to right for a 5-0 lead. Kirschner got the next batter on a grounder to Jayden Rodgers at third but a sixth run came home. A sacrifice fly to Michael Burnside in left sent the margin to 7-0 with two outs. After a single to left, Anna closed out the inning with a ground out to Hector.
In the Coyotes’ final at-bat, Mason Simmons led off with a sharp single to second and Packard walked, drawing Henry to the mound for a pitching change. Reliever Bacon and the Chaps’ defense ended it quickly with a ground out to third and a double play on Hector’s shot to left when courtesy runner John Mark Box was thrown out at home.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Anna 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Aubrey 0 0 4 0 0 3 X 7 5 0