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Familiar Face-Off

Familiar Face-Off

By Bill Sorrell

Photo by Kevin Lewter

A familiar face face-off.

Houston’s opening District 15-AAA 10-4 victory over Germantown on Friday came against players that have traded the Silver and Black for the Red and White.

Germantown pitcher Tyler Miller, second baseman Josh Cooper, shortstop Colin Smith, third baseman Payne Smith transferred from Houston.

“The team accepts you. I felt accepted as soon as I stepped in. They integrate you as part of the system. When others came over we accepted them,” said Payne Smith.

Germantown pitcher Ethan Payne, who also plays first base, said, “I was happy to take them. It’s been frustrating over the years. I was happy to get some good talent. I think Houston lost some pretty good players and we could take advantage of that.”

Germantown head coach Casey Callaway said, “We are a team that is put together of players that want a second chance.”

Houston pitcher Grayson Hitt said, “It’s wierd playing against players that were on my team but I am still friends with (them).”

The Mustanges are a team that takes advantage of any chance they get. They are ranked No. 2 in the state by Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association.

A 2-run home run by Ethan Burns followed by a Eliezer Bueno double sparked a four-run seventh inning and Houston broke open a tight city-rivalry game on Friday at Germantown.

“Houston has an approach at the plate and they are going to stick to it. They like to hit for power. They are going to challenge you at the plate. You are not going to have any easy pitches. They had a decent start out of their pitchers and played well,” said Callaway.

The Mustangs, now 18-3 after a rematch 6-5 win over the Red Devils on Saturday, got 10 hits in the victory over the Red Devils Friday.

Burns scored three runs, had 3 RBI and teamed with infielder Riley Hawthorne for a team-high two hits each.

After Friday’s game, Burns had hit three home runs on the season.

“It felt great to hit one out against our rival in a close game. This season is going great so far,” said Burns, adding the turnining point was Bueno’s double. Burns scored a team-high three runs.

The Red Devils (9-4, 0-1 in district) tied the game in the fourth inning before Houston took a 6-4 lead after six.

Pitching 4.2 innings and striking out three, Charlie Seahorn got the win. Starter Joshua Bittner pitched 2.33 innings, striking out one batter.

Houston scored two runs in the second inning and another in the third on Payne, who finished with 2.67 innings, before Payne Smith came in in relief. He pitched one inning. Sean Albritton, who pitched 3.33 innings got the loss after allowing six runs. Payne and Smith each struck out one batter while Albritton struck out two.

“Ethan started on the mound for us. He didn’t have his best stuff. He battled a couple of innings. We had to go to our bullpen early and we didn’t last long enough. Guys came in and threw really well. Ethan did nothing to concern us. It was one of those nights when you don’t have your A-stuff. Ethan is a competitive player. Playing football in the fall, he wants to go after it,” said Callaway.

“We hit the ball well. We did some good things offensively. Our tanks ran empty late in the game. It was 6-4 through five. We ran out of gas in that last inning,

Payne, who is 2-1, said, “They jumped on myself and a couple of other pitchers they jumped on. They made it to where if we walked them we were going to pay for it. I think they did a good job of scoring runners on base and they definitely did a good job of base running. That puts a lot of pressure on our catchers and outfielders.”

Payne Smith said, “They took advantage of every opporunity. Any time thety got on base they were getting an extra base every time. You do that, you give yourself a good chance to win.”

Giving the Mustangs a good chance to win were Mustangs hitters. Hitt, Bittner, George Sala, RH Frankland, Caleb Barger, Hayden Weaks each got a hit. Pierre Seals scored one run, Bueno and Barger two each, Frankland and Weaks one each.

“We started to string hits together toward the end of the game,” said Hitt, whose goal is to help the Mustangs to make it to state and “win it all. We have a bunch of players who wnat to win and not just go through the motions.”

The Red Devils got 8 hits with Payne Smith, Cooper, Colin Smith each getting two and Liam Henager and Alex Pachuki.

Germantown runs came in the second (1), third (2) and fourth (1). Miller, Payne Smith, Cooper, Colin Smith each scored.

Carter said, “We are off to a good start. Grayson Hitt (who is a left hander) has been the leader on the mound. Riley Hawthorne short stop, Eleizer Bueno first baseman, George Slaa catcher and Pierre Seals outfielder are leading us at the plate.”

Hitt said, “Seniors like Hayden Weaks and George Sala have been good leaders for us.”

The group is fun to be around said Carter.

“A little over halfway through, we have got to make sure we are still getting better for May.”

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