Lucky Number Seven: Marcus opens district with big win over East
Last year, the Flower Mound Marcus baseball team lost its 8-5A opener.
"After we lost that first game it felt like we were playing catch up the rest of the way," said Colin Poche, Marauders senior pitcher.
Tuesday night, Poche helped ensure Marcus didn't start 0-1 again as he pitched six scoreless innings to pace the Marauders past Plano East, 7-0.
Poche, who started to get his slider working more and more as the game went on, gave up just five hits as he picked up the game ball and the win.
"Pitching is the strength of this team and Colin is our No. 1," said Dustin Sykora, Marcus head coach. "We always preach to our pitchers about getting ahead in the count; and when you have a guy like Colin with plus stuff getting ahead in the count, that makes it tough for the other team."
The closest East got to rattling Poche came in the bottom of the sixth.
Trailing 5-0, the Panthers loaded the bases with one out following a single from junior Ryan Kravik, walk to senior Clark Kahawaii and single by senior Jacob DeLaCruz. East wouldn't plate any of those runs though as Poche forced a short fly out and then registered a strike out to end the inning.
The Panthers weren't as fortunate in the top of the third inning.
Down 1-0, East appeared as though it would escape without further damage as Marcus faced a full count with two outs. Moments later though, the Marauders had cleared the bases and increased their lead to 4-0.
"We've been doing really well with our two-out hitting so far this year," Sykora said, "and obviously that was big for us again tonight."
But that early advantage didn't change Poche's focus.
"It's always good to get ahead," he said, "but I still try to go into each inning thinking that it is a 0-0 game."
Marcus added another run in the sixth inning and then two more in the seventh, to make it 7-0, courtesy of a lead-off walk to junior Ryan Vaughn and two-RBI double to right centerfield from junior Matthew Holcombe. East attempted to respond in the bottom of the inning following a walk to senior Matt Wylie and senior Jacob Boucher getting plunked with no outs. Marauders senior Kyle Condry would lock in from there and not allow another base runner in closing out the 7-0 victory.
"The biggest thing for us tonight is that we played mistake free baseball," Sykora said. "We lost five district games last year by two runs or less, so we've been telling guys since the fall to focus on playing mistake free."
The win got Marcus out to a strong start in 8-5A.
"We want to show people that we are the team to beat in this district," Sykora said. "So it's big to be 1-0 because right now there are only three other teams in the district like us."
But Tuesday aside, there is still plenty more ball to be played.
"This district is like a gauntlet," Sykora said. "We have Flower Mound on Friday, and that should be an amazing atmosphere, and then Plano West, then Plano (Senior); it just keeps going."
Marcus hosts Flower Mound at 7:30 p.m. Friday while East travels to West at the same time.