Paz’s triple sparks Spartans past Elks
CROWLEY – Patyon Strambler didn’t have his best stuff Wednesday night but Centennial’s junior pitcher still found a way to shutout crosstown rival Burleson, 6-0, in a District 8-5A game at Crowley.
Strambler, who allowed four hits, walked four and hit five batters, struck out six and induced three double plays to get out of jams.
“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight,” Strambler said. “My fastball was running more than I expected, that’s why I was hitting so many batters.”
Centennial stayed in first place with the win.
“We are just 1-0, that’s what coach Hart tells us,” Centennial junior third baseman Devin Paz said. “We don’t worry about the past.”
Burleson starting pitcher Reese Etter surrendered one run in 4.2 innings. The senior, who was making his first start in district, fanned two and walked two.
“It was Kayden [Cassidy’s] turn to start but I wanted to kind of change things up,” Burleson coach Daniel Bruce said. “Reese has been kind of chomping at the bit and biding his time. He did a great job.”
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Thomas Santos hit a leadoff double and scored on Jordan Jackson’s RBI single.
Centennial broke the game open scoring five runs in the sixth.
With runners at second and third, Devin Paz ripped a triple to the gap in right center field for a 3-0 lead.
“They had a new left-hander in the game and I wasn’t trying to do to much,” Paz said. “I was being patient and he was working me away and low. He put one out on out half and I did what coach Hart told me and I took it that way. Out of the [batter’s] box, I was thinking three all the way.”
Blake Birdwell followed with a walk then Strambler scored Paz with a ground out. Adrian Gracia singled in Birdwell and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Burleson left four runners in scoring position Wednesday and stranded nine runners.
“I told the kids even if we don’t give up the five spot, we still lose, 1-0,” Bruce said. “Maybe it changes a little bit and we put more pressure on them. Bottom line is we have to find a way to get those base runners in. We just have to finish those games.”