Getting strong pitching yet again and generating plenty of offense, the Houston High School baseball team won twice last week at Tiger Field, routing Summersville 11-1 on Tuesday and downing Salem 7-4 in a South Central Association matchup on Friday.

In the Tuesday game, the visiting Wildcats took a 1-0 lead by scoring their lone run in the top of the first inning when junior Josh Prisco led off the contest with a single, stole second base, advanced to third on a grounder and then crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice.

The Diamond Tigers went ahead for good with a 3-run rally in the bottom of the second frame featuring a lead-off single by junior Ryan Wolfe along with 2 walks, 2 errors and a hit batter.

Houston went on to add 3 runs in the third inning, 1 in the fifth and 4 more in the sixth.

All 4 runs in the sixth came with 2 outs. The rally began with a run-scoring sacrifice fly by junior Casey Merckling and continued with a 2-run double by sophomore Wyatt Hughes to put the Tigers ahead 10-1. The contest then ended on a walk-off RBI single by junior Danny Venable that drove in Hughes and invoked the 10-run mercy rule.

Venable and freshman Shaun Buck combined to pitch a 1-hitter. Venable started and went 4 innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 4 and walking 3. Buck then worked the last 2 innings and fanned 5 of the 6 batters he faced.

HHS junior Danny Venable prepares to deliver a pitch during the first inning of the Tigers’ win over Summersville Tuesday at Tiger Field.

Houston recorded 8 hits off of three different Summersville pitchers.

Wolfe went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, while Hughes went 1-for-1 with 2 walks, 2 RBIs and 4 runs scored.

Houston stole 7 bases in the game, as Wolfe swiped 3 and junior Garyn Hall stole 2.

Thursday’s SCA battle began in similar fashion, as the visiting Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a 2-out RBI single by sophomore third baseman Kaden DuBois.

The Diamond Tigers answered in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases on a walk, a base hit by Wolfe and a hit batter, and then going ahead 2-1 on a 2-run single hit by sophomore right fielder Stone Jackson.

Houston doubled the lead to 4-1 on a 2-run single to center by Wolfe in the second inning, and built a commanding 7-1 advantage with a 3-run rally with 2 outs in the third, fueled by an RBI bunt single by sophomore left fielder Aiden Kelly and capped off by a 2-run single by Hall.

Salem (6-7, 2-2 SCA) scored 2 runs in the top of the fourth inning and added another in the seventh frame, but the game ended when senior Wiley Sisco struck out senior designated hitter Collin Heavin with runners on second and third.

Hall, Hughes and Sisco combined to allow 8 hits and 2 earned runs, striking out 15 and walking only 2. Hall started and worked 4 innings, fanning 9 and not issuing a free pass.

HHS senior catcher Wiley Sisco consults with junior Garyn Hall on the mound during the Tigers’ win over Salem last Friday.

Houston had 9 hits in the contest (all singles), with Kelly, Hall and Wolfe each getting 2.

The host Tigers were once again aggressive on the base paths, stealing 9 bases in the win. Hall swiped 3 to raise his season total to 36 and set a new school record for single-season stolen bases, breaking the old mark of 33 he set last year.

“Sometimes we’re winning big and sometimes we’re winning by closer scores than I would like,” said HHS head coach Brent Hall, “but we’re doing pretty well lately.”

Head coach Brent Hall and his HHS baseball team are gearing up for the Class 3 District 9 Tournament at Hartville.

This week (weather permitting), the Tigers (14-5, 4-2 SCA) wrapped up the SCA portion of their schedule Wednesday (May 4) at Mountain Grove, and will host Ellington on Thursday and travel to Plato on Friday.

The Tigers are preparing for the Class 3 District 9 Tournament, set to begin on May 14 at Hartville. Seeding for the 5-team event was to be announced on Wednesday of this week.

Hall said he’s looking for his team to gain a bit more tenacity before entering postseason play.

“We’ve won some close games against teams I feel like we should do a better job of putting away,” hall said. “I’d like us have a little more toughness and grit, but a win’s a win.”

Prior to districts, the Tigers have a few nonconference games scheduled.

“Those games are good because we can try some things and move guys around in the lineup,” Hall said.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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