Victoria East's Hunter Perkins, right, high-fives his teammate Adrian Gonzalez after their playoff win against San Antonio Harlandale at Riverside Stadium.
Photo by Joe Lamberti.
As of Friday, May 3, 2013
NEXT GAME: vs. CC Moody, best of three series. Game 1, at Cabaniss Field, Corpus Christi, TBA. Game 2, 2 p.m. at Riverside Stadium. Game 3 after Game 2.
Pitchers talk a lot about location, but rarely does that refer to where they are sitting in the dugout.
Kyle Craft's choice of seats was a fortuitous one for Victoria East.
Craft came off the bench and pitched 41/3scoreless innings to lead the Titans to an 8-2 Class 4A bi-district win over San Antonio Harlandale on Friday night at Riverside Stadium.
"That was the plan," said East coach Wes Kolle. "If we ran into trouble with Hunter (Perkins) being in right field, it's a lot easier to get Craft loose. He was right there sitting next to me. We sent him down there early, and we were going to go with him as long as we could. It was a little bit longer than usual, but he came in and did a great job."
Craft relieved starter Ryan Williams with two outs in the third inning after the Indians (13-13) had five straight hits and cut the deficit to 4-2.
Craft yielded only one hit and three walks the rest of the gameand struck out 10.
"You just have to go out there and do your job and what coach wants to do," Craft said.
The Titans improved to 20-10-1 and moved into the area playoffs against Corpus Christi Moody, which swept a two-game series over Roma.
East and Moody will play a best-of-three game series beginning Friday at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi at a time to be determined. Game 2 will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Riverside Stadium with Game 3, if necessary, to follow Game 2.
Craft figured Perkins would be the first pitcher in relief, but he didn't mind getting the call sooner than he expected.
"It's always fun coming in like that," Craft said. "It was actually supposed to be Hunter (Perkins). Things happen, and that's how it went. I was just pounding the zone. Just putting it in the strike zone and whatever happened, happened."
The Titans helped take some of the pressure off Craft by scoring two runs in the fifth and sixth inning against Harlandale starter Michael Agis.
Agis averaged almost two strikeouts per inning. But after striking out the side in the first inning, he had four strikeouts the rest of the game.
"Coach just told us to put the ball in play," said third baseman Cole Urban. "At this stage of the season, it doesn't matter if it's a hit or an error, we just want to get on base and score runs. We were able to do that tonight."
The Titans had seven different players with a hit, and they had base runners in every inning but the first.
"We worked hard all week long on the two-strike approach," Kolle said. "If you get two strikes, you shorten up and put the ball in play and put the pressure on their defense to make plays, and we did a great job after the first inning."
The Titans not only got great pitching from Craft, but they also backed him with errorless defense.
"That's what we've got to do at this stage of the season," Kolle said. "We've got to have great pitching and good defense, and we had some timely hits, too."