By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun
Maybe it was the wind that huffed and puffed and blew down Corsicana’s Tigers.
Or maybe it was just not their day, or the odds that sooner or later they would lose a game.
After all, Corsicana had won four in a row and had beaten West twice this season, 14-7 earlier and 8-1 as recently as March 1.
But on Friday afternoon nothing seemed to go right for the Tigers, who lost to West 6-0, in their first home game of the season. They had built a 12-3 start playing in tournaments and road games, but they finally came home Friday and were met by a blustering wind and West right-hander Nick Kudera, who pitched a beauty to shut out the Tigers and hand D.J. Minniear (2-2, 1.12 ERA) his second loss of the season.
“They just out-pitched us today,’’ Corsicana Coach Heath Autrey said. “The bottom line is he pitched a real good game.’’
Kudera allowed only two hits and the Tigers never could string anything together. They left eight men on stranded on the bases.
Minniear, who gave up three hits over six innings, ran into trouble early and a couple of errors didn’t help in the first inning when West took a 2-0 lead. The Trojans added two more in the second on three walks and a single up the middle, and that 4-0 lead was more than enough for Kudera, who went the distance.
“D.J. walked five and hit three batters. We just gave them too many opportunities,’’ Autrey said. “D.J. didn’t have a very good start. They put up two in the first two innings and it was hard to come back from that with the wind blowing in.’’
It was the second time Corsicana had been shut out.
“Red Oak beat us 5-0, but we hit the ball hard that day and they just made some great plays. That’s the kind of game you just get back to work. This game is the same.’’
The wind was gusting at over 25 mph and the flags in center field were actually pointing up as the blew in all day.
Autrey pointed out that it was a day that should have been tailor-made for his Tigers, who have had so much success this season by bunting, running and beating teams with good pitching, good defense and a small ball attack that has been difficult to stop — or even slow down.
Corsicana has stolen 60-of-64 bases and leadoff hitter Layton Wolver is hitting .451 and has scored 25 runs already. The No. 2 hitter, Brady Harlan, his batting .444 and has driven in a dozen runs and scored 17 times. Catcher Trevor Nolan is batting .425 and Bobby Lopez, who pitched the seventh and gave up two unearned runs, is hitting .316 with 14 RBI.
“Our offense has been clicking,’’ Autrey said of his team’s 12-3 start before Friday. “The games we have lost have been games where we walked and hit batters. We’re young and we play good baseball at times and we play flat at times.’’
Corsicana’s youth may be a blessing after Friday’s loss.
Being young they have pretty short memories,’’ Autrey said.
Autrey hopes Saturday’s game against Little Elm at CHS doesn’t get rained out although rain is in the forecast.
“I hope we can get that game in,’’ he said.
One more game won’t hurt this young team. Corsicana plays its District 16-4A opener at home against Tyler John Tyler at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.
By then, Friday’s loss to West will be ancient history _ or just blown away.