For the first two innings of Ryan’s game Friday night, the Raiders were staying within striking distance of one of Class 5A’s best baseball teams.
But on the field and in the dugout, Ryan head coach Bret Warnack sensed something was missing.
The quiet team in the dugout and the quiet bats at the plate were small indicators to Warnack that his team was lacking the energy needed against the team ranked seventh in 5A by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Flower Mound Marcus’ bats made up for the silence in the third inning. The Marauders scored four runs in the third to spark the visiting team to a 9-2 victory over Ryan at Raider Field.
Despite his team’s 7-1 loss to Marcus on Tuesday in the District 5-5A opener for both schools, Warnack liked what his team was able to accomplish. On Friday night, he thought his team was flat from the opening pitch and lacked energy.
“I was pleased with the way we played on Tuesday, and I thought we’d come out here with a little more fire underneath us coming into this game,” Warnack said. “We were just kind of flat.”
Ryan (2-15-2, 0-2 district) managed one hit off of Marcus junior Jack Cushing, who struck out eight batters and walked three in six innings of work. Cushing, who has an offer from Dallas Baptist, picked up six of those strikeouts in the first three innings.
By that time, the Marauders (17-2, 2-0) gave the junior plenty of cushion.
After Marcus junior Matt Bernstein led off the top of the third with a triple off Ryan junior Ryan Burks, junior Brendan Venter was hit by a pitch and the next three batters singled to score four runs.
Burks allowed six runs and six hits in four innings of work. Junior Blake Grellhesl came on in relief and pitched the final three innings.
Marcus coach Jeff Sherman said that throughout the season his team has been eager at the plate the first time through the lineup. The second time the Marauders went through the order Friday night, they were able to connect.
“Tonight, I was really happy that we didn’t get overzealous the second time through,” Sherman said. “We really hammered the baseball, hit gaps and we executed on steals and hit-and-runs.”
Ryan didn’t pick up its first hit of the game until the fourth inning, when sophomore shortstop Manny Torralba ripped a single through the infield. Torralba scored in the fourth on a groundout by Burks. Torralba scored Ryan’s other run in the sixth after he reached on an error.
Warnack said his team knew it was going to face a quality pitcher, and that his team is still learning how to hit.
But for his team to be competitive in a very tough district, Warnack said the Raiders can’t come out flat and silent.
“We’ve definitely got to come out with more energy,” Warnack said. “We’ve gotta start communicating on the field.”