The ninth-ranked Stephenville Yellow Jackets posted a key District 7-4A baseball victory Tuesday night at home, defeating 2018 state finalist Godley, 3-1.
The district opener for both teams matched senior SHS pitcher Mason Castleberry against one of the top Class 4A pitchers in the state — Chase Lummus of Godley. The 6-2, 190-pound lefthander has signed to pitch for the Texas Longhorns, but Tuesday he was defeated for only the second time in his high school career.
While Castleberry held the Wildcats scoreless through 4-1/3 innings, the 14-2-1 Jackets grabbed all the runs they would need in a three-run third inning.
“That was a big-time win for us,” SHS head coach Justin Swenson said, noting that it was the first time the Jackets had beaten Godley in baseball during his stint as head coach. “That was the fifth time we’ve faced him (Lummus), and we hadn’t even scored a run on him.
“When you beat the two-time district champion and state finalist from last year, that’s a huge confidence booster.”
The Jackets were limited to four hits by Lummus — singles by Cody Storrs, Gabe Moore, Trace Morrison and Cade Dunavant. Storrs and Morrison drove in one run each.
Daniel Luna pitched 1-2/3 innings and Caleb Smith worked the final inning to hold off the Wildcats, who scored their only run in the top of the sixth.
“The biggest thing was, we scored all three of our runs with two outs,” Swenson noted. “Aggressive baserunning goes a long ways.”
But even with Stephenville’s pitching playing such a key role in the big win, it was a flashy defensive play by third baseman Tyeler Reed in the top of the sixth that snuffed out Godley’s scoring threat in the sixth inning that could have spoiled the outing.
With Luna on the mound, the Wildcats got runners on second and third with two outs when a Godley batter slapped a ball down the third-base line.
Reed dived and snagged the ball, then jumped to his feet and threw to first baseman Gabe Moore, who scooped the ball out of the dirt to complete the dazzling defensive play and end the inning.
“That was crazy,” said Castleberry, who noted that coach Justin Swenson had the infielders prepared for just such a scenario. “We worked on it in practice the day before.”
The Jackets are scheduled to play at Brownwood on Friday (varsity at 7 p.m.). On Saturday, they have a game set for 1 p.m. against Graham, at home.
Another non-district game is slated for Monday, April 1, against Snyder at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
Then the Jackets will resume district play on Friday, April 5, at home against Mineral Wells (7 p.m. varsity start).
Following the Jackets' 4-0 loss to sixth-ranked Decatur on March 22, they had slipped from season-best rank of No. 4 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association rankings to No. 9 in the new poll released earlier today.