Pirates blank S. Hills to open district play

The Granbury Pirates had plenty of offensive pop Tuesday night in their 7-0 victory against the South Hills Scorpions at Tidwell Field to open the District 7-4A baseball season.

They broke open the contest in the fourth inning, but the first four batters got nary a hit.

A pair of hit batters, an error on a bunt and a fielder’s choice put runners on base. The Pirates (6-4 overall) subsequently got four hits in the inning as six runs crossed the plate.

That was more than enough runs as Granbury starting pitcher Nathan Hickey and his defense shackled the Scorpions (0-3 overall).

Hickey (3-0) got in a couple of jams in the third and fourth innings when the bases were loaded. The Pirates turned a double play to end the third, and Hickey ended the fourth with a strikeout.

Hickey finished the game with 11 strikeouts.

“The pace of the game was brutal,” said Granbury coach Brad Hart. “He had trouble getting in a rhythm. He’s out there waiting for a hitter, and the guy’s still in the dugout.

“When it’s cold, you definitely want to get in a rhythm. That said, any time you get a shutout, you’re pitching well.

“He made some really good pitches, especially when he had to.”

Hickey also helped himself at the plate by going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He was one of four Pirates to have a pair of hits, including Daniel Arnett, Brady Retz and Tyler Titus.

Retz had a double, as did Caleb Bendewald.

Hart believes his Pirates will be among those contending for the top spot in district this season, along with perennial powers Arlington Heights and Aledo.

Aledo defeated Heights 3-2 Tuesday at home to open district. Heights came into the game ranked 10th in the state according to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.

“If we figure out how to play consistently, we can play with Heights and Aledo,” said Hart.

“We can hit the ball, and we have some good pitching.”

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S. Hills 000 000 0 – 0 4 2

Granbury 001 600 x – 7 11 1

Granbury pitching – Nathan Hickey (3-0) 6 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts; Daniel Arnett 1 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk.

Granbury (6-4, 1-0 in 7-4A) hitting – Hickey 2-4, RBI; Arnett 2-3; Brady Retz 2-3, double, RBI; Tyler Titus 2-3, RBI; Payton Rhodes 1-3, sacrifice fly, RBI; Miles Wagner 1-4; Caleb Bendewald 1-3, double.