WACO – Red Oak was looking for a pick-me-up. Drew Tyra was happy to provide just that.
After coming off a walk-off loss to Arlington-Bowie in the team’s first game of the day, the Hawks closed out the Waco ISD Tournament with one of the two host teams in Waco. What the team got was a two-hit, 10 strikeout performance from a left-handed senior that sparked a 10-0 win in five innings.
Tyra, who was scheduled to close out the Bowie game, had to make the adjustment from reliever to starter in the blink of an eye. No adjustment necessary.
“The first game that we played I was supposed to go out there and close but (coach Heath Autrey) changed his mind and told me to start. I was like, ‘All right,’” Tyra said.
He was a little more than “all right.”
Tyra struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced before surrendering a hit. He finished the game by striking out the last two batters he faced.
Even when he did get into trouble, Tyra was able to work out of it. After giving up back-to-back hits in the fourth with just one out, he induced an infield pop up with a runner on third and then got the next batter to ground out to short.
Autrey, who didn’t say very much to his team after the Bowie loss, got exactly what he wanted out of his team in the game – a response to adversity. His pitcher just happened to lead the charge.
“He’s been throwing really well in practice and in the bullpens and it was a good opportunity to come out against Waco High and kind of prove to us that he can take his hard work from the bullpen into a game, into a competitive situation,” Autrey said.
While Tyra was dealing from the mound, his teammates were backing him up in the batter’s box. After the first two men of the first inning were retired, Red Oak (2-3) fired off five hits in six batters with another one earning a walk for a 4-0 start to the game. Dillon Cartwright’s two-run triple started the offensive barrage.
The margin grew in the fourth thanks to three errors and a sac fly by Cartwright for a 6-0 lead. The Hawks put the game away in the fifth, capitalizing on four hits and two errors to score four more runs. Cartwright ended the game with an RBI single that put the Hawks up by 10, which signaled the end of the game.
In four games over the weekend, the Hawks threw four different starters and saw the majority of the team get the chance to play. For a guy like Tyra the performance was an important one as he showed he could contend for one of those starter spots.
Autrey called every day an evaluation period, in both practice and game play. He’s still searching for that “winning combination.” Tyra just hopes his effort might have made an impression.
“It’s very important. I’ve got to show myself out there and earn a spot on this team,” Tyra said.
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