By Ryan Butler
A 1-0 loss to Newsome earlier this month dropped the Durant varsity team to a first-place tie atop its district. But if the games following the heart-breaking loss are any indication, the Cougars have a good chance of proving themselves as the best team in District 8A-7 heading into the upcoming district tournament.
Following the loss to the Wolves, Durant posted back-to-back shut-outs. First they blanked Wharton 6-0 in the team’s last district contest of the year. The lopsided win secured a first-place tie with Alonso, a team they beat twice earlier in the year.
They followed that with an 11-0 win over Chamberlain in a mercy-rule shorted game.
“It’s important to help us keep rolling into districts,” said head coach, Butch Valdes. “We want to take every game like we took this one.
Playing in a mid-week game against a struggling Chiefs squad presented a challenge in mental preparation. But, like with most other challenges the team has faced, the Cougars were ready to handle the completion.
Like he has all season, starting pitcher Tyler Danish made sure his team stayed sharp. Recording his astonishing ninth win in 10 opportunities, the University of Florida baseball commitment didn’t allow a run over four innings of work against Chamberlain. After that game, he still hadn’t allowed an earned run all season, allowing him to post a state-best 0.00 ERA.
“He’s one of those types of kids that come around every one in a while. Where, for a lot of players, fame has gone to the player’s head, he’s still part of the team and very humble,” Valdez said.
Along with Danish, Luke Heyer, who hit a three-run home run in the Chamberlain game, and a strong line-up give the Cougars a chance to take a strong regular season in a tough district and turn it into something more.
For more information, visit maxpreps.com or fhsaa.org.