Senior additions lead to Cubs’ rout of Graford 14-7 in home opener
After opening the season winless in five games following a baseball tournament in Graford, the Olney Cubs showed a much different lineup during their 14-7 drubbing of Graford.
Olney seems the embodiment of the adage of one man’s loss is another man’s gain with multiple senior basketball players adding experience and talent to the Cubs’ roster with senior pitcher Malik Garza flashing his skills from the mound and in the batters box.
“For some of those guys, that was their first day of baseball,” Olney coach Kevin Bartley said. “A couple were coming off of playoff basketball so I threw them out to see what they could do. Some competed and some were rusty. We saw some areas that needed to be fixed. The first inning was kind of rough.”
Garza drove in four runs while also striking out four batters over three innings of work Monday night while splitting time on the mound with Noah Gibson, who struck out five batters in four innings.
“Malik Garza stepped up,” Bartley said. “He’s a senior and improved quite a bit this year ... He came out and pitched a pretty good game against Graford and that is all I can ask. He came out and threw strikes.”
Garza’s first RBI came in the second inning as the Cubs attempted to rally back after giving up six runs in the first inning. A pair of Graford fielding errors allowed the Cubs to plate two more runners in the third. Freshman Gabrial Garza’s single pulled the Cubs within three, then another fielding error on the subsequent at-bat allowed the freshman to score two pull Olney within a run.
A fifth-inning liner by sophomore catcher Cesar Flores for an RBI tied the game 6-6, then the Cubs took the lead on Malik Garza’s second and third RBI double to center. Olney continued pouring on the runs from that point while solid pitching and defense staved off any attempt at a comeback from Graford.
With the win, the Cubs improve to 1-5, but Bartley said he is excited to see how what his seniors will bring to this year’s team and how his younger players will develop.
“Errors were made and you expect that, but I saw what they had and what they were able to do,” Bartley said. “I put the kids out there that I knew I could win a ballgame with and we came back and started fighting.”