Following its 10-0 district loss to the Hebron Hawks on Tuesday night at Raider Field, Ryan’s players were silent in their dugout while head coach Bret Warnack leaned over the yellow rail at the edge of the first-base dugout.
The lack of noise from the dugout spoke volumes of the game that just ended and the season that will conclude in three games.
The dugout’s silence started after Hebron scored six runs before Ryan could send a batter to the plate. The game ended after the fifth inning because of the run rule.
“That first inning killed us,” Ryan senior outfielder Kraig Behrens said. “It kind of quieted us down. I feel like that hurts, too, because you have to have your dugout up the whole game. That’s something we didn’t do. After that first inning, we were all dead. We kind of put ourselves out of it when we shouldn’t have.”
As far as their season is concerned, the Raiders (6-21, 0-12 District 5-5A) put themselves out of playoff contention a long time ago. With three games left in district play, Ryan will attempt to avoid going winless over the 15-game schedule.
Hebron (16-12, 5-7) needed Tuesday’s win to maintain its buffer between Lewisville for the fourth spot in the district and the final playoff berth.
Ryan’s dugout was silenced in the first inning by the noise produced by the Hawks’ bats. After Raiders senior pitcher Chris McKeehan allowed a leadoff hit and an ensuing walk, sophomore center fielder Shomari Cann dived for a ball hit by Hebron’s Todd Wurzbach. The ball went past Cann and to the outfield wall, allowing Wurzbach to cruise into third base with a triple.
The Hawks went on to score four more runs in the inning and sent 11 batters to the plate, a sight welcomed by Hebron head coach Steve Stone.
“We’ve really been kind of snakebit at the plate,” Stone said. “At times we’ve hit the ball, but at times we couldn’t ever sustain an inning. We’d get a couple of hits and not a big hit. Tonight, we got a lot of two-out hits.”
McKeehan pitched all five innings, with the defense committing four errors.
McKeehan (2-6), who has signed to play at Texas Pan-American beginning next season, uncharacteristically struggled Tuesday night, according to his head coach.
“Chris wasn’t real sharp early in the game, and they jumped on him,” Warnack said. “It wasn’t his tonight and that’s going to happen to everybody. He’s human just like everybody else. He’s thrown really well for us and just had a rough night in the first inning tonight.”
While Hebron was able to shake off its offensive struggles, the Raiders couldn’t do the same. Twice Ryan couldn’t convert with the bases loaded. In the first inning, Behrens was thrown out at home plate while trying to score from second base off one of junior shortstop Mitchell Bridges’ two hits.
The Raiders once again loaded the bases in the fifth inning, when a run was needed to keep the run rule from being invoked. Left fielder Ryan Burks grounded out to end the game.
The team that’s struggled at the plate all through 5-5A play only mustered three hits against Hebron starting pitcher Michael Delavar and Wurzbach, who recorded the final three outs of the game after Delavar hit the first two batters of the inning.
“They’re pretty overmatched right now in this district,” Warnack said of his team.
Thursday night’s game against Lewisville marks Ryan’s final home game for Behrens and McKeehan, the team’s two lone seniors. The upperclassmen, along with the five sophomores starting for the Raiders, will have another crack at salvaging something positive from this season.
“It almost it’s like we’re trying to do too much now at the end of the year,” Behrens said. “Now we’re playing for pride and for the younger guys to take stuff into next year and build on it. We really want to do a lot now to get a win and do something.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
HEBRON 10, RYAN 0 (5)
WP — Michael Delavar (4-5). LP — Chris McKeehan (2-6). 3B — H: Todd Wurzbach, Drew Roth.