On Wednesday, Temple College’s baseball team made the long bus trip to Denison and absorbed two painful losses against Grayson by scores of 11-2 and 10-4.
“We did not play well at all. It was a very frustrating day up there,” head coach Craig McMurtry said Saturday about TC’s midweek performance, which included his Game 2 ejection that required him to sit out Saturday’s first game.
Back at the friendlier confines of Danny Scott Sports Complex on a cool, overcast Saturday afternoon, the Leopards flushed that frustration out of their system in decisive fashion.
Run-scoring doubles by Cade Climie, Hogan Heller and Jake Weaver highlighted Temple’s six-run first-inning outburst that fueled its 10-0, five-inning win over Grayson in Game 1.
The Leopards then produced an even larger early explosion in the doubleheader finale, rocking the Vikings for 10 first-inning runs behind Trent Rucker’s three-run double and Climie’s tape-measure grand slam to pace a 10-6 victory and a sweep.
“It was pretty good after Wednesday getting put in the ground by those guys. It felt good to hit them back in the mouth,” freshman third baseman Climie said after Temple (16-10) improved to 5-3 in the Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. “It was just a good all-around team environment to get us back in the win column.”
Sophomore right-hander Luis Martinez-Gomez (2-2) benefited from TC’s offensive fireworks in the opener, which lasted only 1 hour, 15 minutes. He scattered four singles, struck out one batter, didn’t walk any and relied on the Leopards’ error-free defense.
“Luis threw great, and that first inning was huge to get those six runs,” said McMurtry, who watched Saturday’s opener via a streaming service before returning to the field for Game 2.
In the nine-inning finale, though, freshman righty starter Christian Okerholm couldn’t take advantage of Temple’s massive first inning. After permitting a two-run home run to Chayton Krauss in the first inning, Okerholm was replaced after allowing a third-inning grand slam by Krauss — a hulking New Zealander — that sliced an eight-run Leopards lead in half to make it 10-6.
“Okerholm left an 0-2 fastball over the plate to (Krauss), and then he gets a fastball that’s supposed to be tight but he leaves it over the plate and the guy hits another home run,” McMurtry said. “We had an eight-run lead and you can’t miss in that situation.”
However, TC’s bullpen responded to the challenge. Freshman righty Garrett Baumann (1-0) recorded seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 sharp innings before freshman lefty Tyler Cooper slammed the door on Grayson (4-16, 4-4) by striking out five in 2 1/3 innings to secure a much-needed split of the four-game series.
“Baumann came in and threw well with his fastball, slider and split, and then Cooper was really good,” McMurtry said. “He’s been good all year. He rolls his curveball in there for a strike and then the bottom drops out of it for strikeouts.”
In the scheduled seven-inning opener, the six-run onslaught in the first was all that Martinez-Gomez and Temple needed. The Leopards sent 11 batters to the plate against righty Krauss (1-1), and six of the first seven scored.
Dawson French hit a leadoff single and scored when Climie ripped a double to left-center, then Lance Cantrell hit an infield single before two runs came in on Heller’s double to right-center. Another run scored when Ty Marthiljohni’s ground ball was mishandled, then Colby Christian lined an RBI single, Weaver sliced an RBI double to left-center and Raithen Malone added a run-scoring single for a 6-0 lead.
Marthiljohni hit a two-run single in the second against lefty reliever John Tomasek, a freshman from Academy who pitched the final three innings. Christian, who in the first inning made a leaping catch while crashing into the fence in right, made it 10-0 in the fourth with a majestic two-run homer to left.
In Game 2, the Vikings seized a first-inning lead against Okerholm on Krauss’ two-run homer to right-center.
Grayson lefty starter Cylan Madden recorded only two outs against the fast-starting Leopards. Climie hit an RBI double and Christian had a bases-loaded walk before Rucker blasted a three-run double to the left-center gap for a 5-2 TC advantage.
Texas A&M signee Climie broke it open in his second at-bat of the opening frame, greeting Alfredo Martinez — who controlled the Leopards in the second through eighth innings — by launching a grand slam far beyond the wall in left.
“It felt really good,” Climie said. “That was about all I had.”