Tomball, Texas — The Tomball Kings varsity baseball team opened the 2022 spring season on the first day of February, facing off against the reigning TAPPS 2A state finalist Rosehill Christian Eagles, at the Premier Baseball of Texas Sports Complex. With sophomore right-hander Tyler Costas manning the hill, the Kings defeated the Eagles by run rule in five innings, 11-0.
The Kings struck early, with Issac Gidden singling on a ground ball up the middle. The next batter, Matthew Joffrion, drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second. Breck Romero stepped up to the plate to face off against Eagles starter Walter Wiener. After a wild first pitch advancing both runners, Romero launched the ball over the left field wall, putting the Kings up 3-0. Collin England smacked a single to left field and then managed to steal second. Wiener struck out the next two batters before giving up a fourth run via a hit from Costas, who advanced England across the plate. Wiener struck out the next batter to strand Costas on base.
Costas started the second by giving up a walk to Eagles player Barbato, which was rendered useless however when the next batter hit a ground ball to Joffrion in center field. Joffrion fired a laser beam to catch Barbato in the act of advancing to second. Costas then walked the Eagles right fielder Whit, giving the Eagles an opportunity to put up runs. Eagles player Delojsi, however, bunted right back to Costas, resulting in an inning-ending double play.
Leading off the bottom of the second, Owen Wilkins drew a four-pitch walk. After Wilkins stole second, Josh Hokenson singled to drive in the run, making the score 5 – 0 in favor of Kings. Hokenson was also a part of the running game, managing to advance to all the way to third. Gidden then ripped a double to right field, collecting an RBI and adding security to the Kings lead. Joffrion’s at bat ended with a positive result, advancing Gidden to third. To add to his noteworthy performance, Romero belted a double to left field, scoring Gidden, and making the score 7 – 0 Tomball. Following a couple of unfortunate errors made by the Eagles catcher and shortstop, respectively, Romero came around to score from second. After a pitching change to reliever Ameron Sheikh, Rosehill managed to put an end to the Kings rally, striking out the next two batters.
Rosehill continued to struggle into the third, when Costas retired all three batters with ground-outs. Sheikh, who had shut down the Kings in the previous inning, conducted his half of this inning almost perfectly. The only blemish came on an error in the field allowing Hokenson to reach first, but Hokenson was then thrown out advancing to second.
Costas continued to pitch in the fourth. After plunking the batter Sheikh, he proceeded to strike out the next batter, and then forced the last two batters to pop out. The Kings continued to shut out Rosehill, 8 – 0. Sheikh continued to shine in the Eagles half of the fourth, shutting down the teeth of Tomball’s lineup, with both Gidden and Joffrion grounding out, and Romero flying out to straightaway center. Kings pitcher Jackson Young came in to relieve Costas, and he shut down the Eagles lineup to continue Tomball’s control of the game.
England started off the bottom of the fifth for the Kings, blasting a double to center field to put the pressure on early. Jarrett Sweitzer then drew a walk, and Young blooped a single over the shortstop’s head to load the bases. After a pitching change that brought in Eagles player Walker for Rosehill, he engaged in a battle which he ultimately won against Kings hitter Marek Fleming. Wilkins then stepped in and slammed a triple to straightaway center, ultimately ending the game with a final score of 11 – 0 in favor the Kings.
Combining for a two-hitter, Costas and Young paved the way for the Kings offense. Romero, Gidden, and Wilkins teamed up for ten RBIs between them to secure the triumph over Rosehill.
While Rosehill’s pitching staff and lineup struggled in their first game, they saw flashes of brilliance by pitcher Sheikh, who struck out three over one and two-thirds innings. At the plate, Eagles batters Walker and Messmer managed to scratch across hits for their team.
The Tomball Kings next face Eisenhower High School in a scrimmage on Tuesday, February 15th. The Eagles will look to improve from a shaky, first outing and to make another run at a state championship.