SPRING BRANCH — Heading into Tuesday night’s District 25-5A opener against Smithson the San Marcos Rattlers had no problems hitting the ball and scoring runs. SMHS had posted 179 runs in its pre-district schedule, hitting .376 as team during the 22-game stretch.
But that was before facing Smithson Valley’s standout right-hander Cole McKay. Ranked as one of the top sophomore prospects in the nation, McKay baffled San Marcos’ bats by limiting the Snakes to only two hits through 6 2/3 innings, handing SMHS a 3-0 loss at Ranger Field. McKay fanned eight Rattlers with no walks.
“That guy was the real deal and he brought it tonight,” SMHS head baseball coach Bryan Webb said. “We knew he was good and that when we got opportunities, we had to take advantage of them. But he shut us down when he needed to and kept us off-balanced all night.”
San Marcos (15-7-1, 1-0 25-5A) botched numerous scoring opportunities against McKay, stranding seven runners (four at third base) in scoring position. The Rattlers tried to mount a two-out rally in the top of the seventh, putting runners at first and second off Smithson Valley reliever Cody Allen, but Cole Coleman hit into a force-out at third base, allowing the Rangers (10-8, 1-0) to hang on for the win.