Hayden Thomas is on a roll.
The Rouse senior pitched a complete game shutout, helping the Raiders beat Cedar Park 4-0 on Friday night to keep them undefeated early on in District 19-5A play.
“I’m in the groove,” Thomas said. “I’m finding the strike zone and all my pitches are working. I’ve got the defense backing them up and I’ve got total faith in them right now. Anyone can play better when you know you have a good team behind you.”
Cedar Park starter Hutson McGaughan had five strikeouts in five innings of work. Chase Bedell came on in relief and pitched two innings with a pair of strikeouts. The Timberwolves finished with one hit in the game.
Rouse’s Nick Hempel scored three runs and Dalton Porter finishes with one run scored and one RBI. Cody Vannoy and Jared Southard each had one RBI while Robby Ramos and Thomas had two hits apiece in the game
Thomas had 12 strikeouts Friday night against the Timberwolves. In his last start last week against East View, he had another 16 Ks.
“He’s been as good as he’s been all year the last few times out,” Rouse head coach Chad Krempin said. “The way he’s pitching right now, we’ve got a chance against anybody. He was really good again tonight.”
Thomas’ dominance started in the first inning as he threw nine pitches — all for strikes — and struck out all three batters he faced.
Vannoy drove in Hempel with a single through the right side in the second inning. Hempel scored his second run of the game on a sac fly by Porter in the third and McGaughan avoided any further damage by getting out of a two on, no out jam.
“As much as 4-0 looks like domination, one little thing or something strange happens can change the game and just like that we’re right back in it,” Cedar Park head coach Kris Gawriluk said.
Hempel scored once again on a wild pitch in the fifth inning and Southard followed that up when he scored Porter with a single through the right side fro give the Raiders a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Cedar Park had a chance to cut the game, but stranded runners on second and third base. Thomas ended the inning with an emphatic strikeout.
“I want to see fight tomorrow,” Gawriluk said. “I want to see energy and passion. I saw some guys with heads down. I can handle losing baseball games because that’s going to happen. But it’s how you handle it and making sure no game ever beats you.”
The Raiders and Timberwolves meet up again on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Rouse.
Cedar Park hosts Pflugerville next Wednesday at 7 p.m. while Rouse hosts Cedar Creek Tuesday at 7 p.m. and travels to face off with the Eagles on Thursday night.
“We’ve had our ups and downs and we’ve had things we can improve on,” Thomas said. “This game has definitely been one of our better ones all around. I think we’re on the come up right now.”