Houston, Texas — “It is a cold day for Kings baseball,” observed Tomball Kings junior catcher Breck Romero on a frigid Thursday night, as the Emery/Weiner Jaguars defeated the Kings 7-0 at Emery/Weiner School.
Jaguars starting pitcher Dylan Taylor retired the Kings batsmen handily in the top half of the first inning, striking out the side in eleven pitches to turn things over to the Jaguars lineup. Tyler Costas started the night off by forcing Emery player Cohen to ground out. The next two batters smashed back to back dingers to put the Jags up 2-0. After walking the next batter, Costas managed to stifle the rally via the strikeout.
Up came the Kings in the top of the second, but all fell in order to Taylor, who continued to prevent anyone in the Kings lineup from reaching first. After his early troubles, Costas managed to settle down to prevent any runners from crossing home, recording a strikeout against Jaguars batter Newman. After giving up a single to Jaguars player Wigdar, Jaguar Kalmin grounded into a fielders choice. Cohen then flew out to Kings center fielder Graham Cook.
Tomball’s struggles continued into the third, with the bottom of the lineup failing to create any momentum or even reach base. Taylor recorded two strikeouts in the inning and forced Marek Fleming to ground out. The Jags struck again in the bottom of the third. After Costas forced the first two batters to fly out to straightaway center, the Jags rallied to scratch across a run following a walk, double and single. Jaguar Tiras attempted to turn his double into a four-bagger, but was cut down by a terrific throw from Kings left fielder Owen Wilkins to end the inning.
The Kings managed to break apart Taylor’s perfecto in the fourth, when first basemen Collin England singled up the middle after Josh Hokenson grounded out sharply to the shortstop Cohen. Issac Gidden also reached on a fielder’s choice hit to second basemen Kalmen, putting men on first and second. Taylor recovered, however, and recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Jags hitter Newman started the bottom half of the fourth by drawing a walk from Costas. While attempting to steal second, Kings catcher Jarrett Sweitzer nailed Newman to record the first out. A few pitches later, Costas struck out Wigdar for the second out. After a walk to the next batter, Cohen collected a ground ball single to right field. But the next batter Duffery popped a lazy fly ball to left fielder Owens, who put it away for the final out.
Tomball started out strong in the top of the fifth, with Sweitzer contributing a sharp grounder up the middle. But the next three batters could not keep up the momentum. Cook whiffed after fouling off the previous two pitches. Fleming stepped up next and hit into a fielder’s choice. Taylor then struck out the next batter to turn things over to the Jaguars.
The Kings turned to relief pitcher Jackson Young in the bottom of the fifth, who forced Josef to pop out to Gidden. But Taylor then blasted a homer over the head of Wilkins to put the Jags up 4-0. Pulling it together, Young recorded two more outs, and showed off great reflexes when he caught a comeback liner to end the inning.
The Kings were silenced during Taylor’s final inning of his superb performance, first striking out Wilkins and then forcing Hokenson to line out to center. After a well fought battle, England also succumbed to the strikeout bug, becoming the final out in the top of the sixth. Young let up a single to the first Jaguar he faced in the sixth. After walking and hitting the next two batters, Young then gave up a two-run grounder up the middle to put the Jags up 6-0. The next batter flew out to Gidden. Young plunked the next batter to load the bases. Taylor, who continued to shine, grounded out which allowed Kalmin to cross the plate, putting the Jags up by seven. Young put away the next batter via the strikeout to end the inning.
With the start of the seventh inning came the Kings final hope to rally back, or to even put runs up on the board. The Jags brought in closer Tires. Gidden stepped in and blasted a long fly ball to the deepest part of the ballpark. The ball almost cleared the wall, but landed in the center fielder’s glove just short of the wall. Young hit a dribbler, but the Jaguars mishandled the fielding try and overthrew first base, leaving at second and in scoring position. Fly outs settled the at-bats by Sweitzer and Cook, however, enabling the Jaguars to complete their shutout of the Kings.
Led by a solid performance by both their pitching staff and offense, the Jaguars collected ten hits and seven runs over six and a half innings. Their pitchers fired a combined two-hitter, with eleven strikeouts during that stretch.
The Kings lineup only accumulated two hits, with England and Sweitzer breaking through to reach first. Pitchers Costas and Jackson combined to walk five and strike out five, while giving up seven runs throughout the game.
The Kings now look catch fire in their next game against Logos Prep Academy tomorrow and to thaw frozen bats from their loss against the Jaguars.