2017-03-16 / Sports

Refugio talent tops Marlins

Shawn Mitchell
Sports writer

A 13-0, run-rule loss to talent-packed Refugio on Monday, March 13, was not an unexpected way for Port Aransas to open its district schedule.

The Marlins’ lineup, though, was a bit of a surprise.

A young team was made even more so by the departures of juniors Ryan Brown and Jace Maxham last week.

The basketball standouts, after playing the full-squad opener on Tuesday, March 7, told coach James Garrett that they were quitting the baseball team two days later.

It left the Marlins without their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters and two of their top pitchers heading into a game against the district’s top team.

“Now you’re asking some guys to fill some roles they’re not quite ready to fill,” Garrett said. “But we’re still just trying to find the right combo.”

Refugio, expected to compete for a Conference 2A state title, got five shutout innings from starting pitcher Jacobe Avery, who struck out nine and scattered three hits.

The Bobcats improved to 7-0.

“They’re built to be that good,” Garrett said. “That’s no surprise. We’re just need to keep doing what we can to make sure we can compete with that.”

Port Aransas sophomore pitcher Ryan Brown did just that. He followed a strong outing last week with 2 and 2/3 shutout innings in the middle portion of the game.

“He grew up a lot just from today,” Garrett said. “I liked what I saw.”

Brown’s innings, as well as pitching debut of right fielder Dylan Denton, might have been a great help to the Marlins (0-2) as they juggle pitch counts during their busiest week.

The Refugio game was postponed from Friday, March 10, because of poor field conditions. It was the first of four games the Marlins were slated to play between Monday and Saturday, March 18.

Two of Garrett’s top pitchers, Logan Kreutziger and Noah Mack, threw only 24 pitches apiece against Refugio.

Kreutziger, meanwhile, moved from leadoff to the No. 3 spot in the lineup. The shortstop went 1 for 2 and is 4 for 6 in two games since basketball season ended.

“He’s going to be a guy that we lean on a lot,” Garrett said. “We’re going to see if he can drive some guys in if we get them on.”

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