With a 5-0 victory on Tuesday at Mansfield, the Houston High School baseball team was poised for postseason with an overall record of 19-4.
HHS senior ace Garyn Hall pitched a complete game 3-hitter in the contest, striking out 10 and issuing only 1 walk during his latest dominant performance on the mound.
Houston’s offense backed Hall with 10 hits, all singles. Senior second baseman Danny Venable went 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored, while Hall went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run and senior third baseman Casey Merckling went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
The Tigers scored a run in the top of the second inning, and then added 3 in the third frame and 1 more in the fourth.
Hall stole 3 bases in the contest, raising his school record season total to 44. After the shutout victory, he had a 7-1 pitching record and an ultra-low ERA of .556 in 50.1 innings of work. With his command almost always spot-on, he had fanned 90 batters and walked only 4.
On Wednesday of last week, the Tigers traveled to Ava for the final South Central Association contest of the season for both squads. The game was halted due to weather with the host Bears ahead 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning. HHS head coach Brent Hall said the contest might be continued after the teams conclude their postseasons.
The Tigers will host next week’s Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 3 District 9 Tournament. Houston is seeded second in the 5-team bracket and will face No. 3 Mansfield in a semifinal matchup at 2 p.m. Tuesday (May 16). Other teams in the field include top-seeded Licking, No. 4 Liberty and No. 5 Thayer. The district championship game is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday (May 17).
Houston will enter districts with an experienced starting lineup featuring eight upperclassmen, including six seniors and two juniors. The Tigers have won 12 of their last 13 games and sport a team batting average of .385, while the opposition is hitting only .185.
“We have all the tools to make a postseason run – pitching, hitting, speed and defense,” coach Hall said. “It’s the team that puts it all together that makes the run.”