Baseball is a sport where one split second decision can win or lose a game, a tenth of a second can push a ball ten feet to the left or right for a double instead of an out, or vice versa. No matter how much time you spend preparing, sometimes the ball just doesn’t cooperate.
Advancing to the second round for the third consecutive season, the baseball team faced CC Carroll this weekend and lost a three game series 2-0, 2-4, 3-6.
After the team won game one, Josh Jung stepped to the mound as Saturday afternoon, looking to close the series out. But Carroll played with a certain desperation that was tough for the team to match. Carroll’s players and fans constantly heckled Josh and other players, which led to intense games on Saturday. After taking game two 4-2, Carroll seized the momentum and went up 3-0 in just two innings to start game three. The Brahmas battled back with a Bobby Lepovitz RBI single in the top of the fourth, followed by a Jace Jung RBI double, then a Zach Perez run off of a wild pitch in the sixth, tying the game at three heading to the seventh. Then Carroll’s 8, 9, and 1, slot hitters got on and scored, putting Mac in a three run hole that proved to be too deep.
The team left the bases loaded to end an inning four times over games two and three on Saturday. In game three, Josh Jung nailed a ball to left field with bases loaded, but right at the left fielder. Afterwards you could hear coach Tom Alfieri telling Josh, “That’s baseball,” basically, there’s nothing you can do about that, it wasn’t their day.
Pitching was terrific all season, as the Mac pitchers combined to throw 12 shutouts out of the 32 game season.
In game one vs CC, junior Devin Molina threw one of those shutouts. Game two, senior Josh Jung struggled as he lasted five innings, only striking out two batters and allowing four runs, this was only his second loss of the season. Sophomore Ethan Gottschalk replaced him and held his own, not allowing any additional runs. Game three, sophomore Austin Vaughan also had trouble against this deep Carroll lineup, then Ethan came in and stemmed the tide, until the eighth inning, where Kevin Valderma came in to finish off the game and the season.
Senior Josh Jung has been a terrific player at MacArthur, and one of the top players in the state over the past four years. He is committed to Texas Tech to play baseball but also has the opportunity to declare for the MLB draft in under a month.
The team is in a precarious situation, because they are extremely young, however they are losing two four year varsity players in Jung and Lepovitz, which are tough to replace. Two other seniors played heavy minutes as well, in Kevin Valderma and Paul De La Rosa. The team will be better overall next year as they’ll have a deeper pitching rotation and a more experienced lineup. The only problem is that they will not have a game changing player as they had this year in Josh.
The baseball program has not advanced to the third round since 2001, despite making the second round five times in that span.
The team had a tremendous year and will most likely be back in a similar position next season, and with the added experience who knows, the ball may just cooperate, but even if it doesn’t, that’s just baseball.