After their first three attempts to play their season opener were postponed because of rain, the Callaway Cavaliers at long last got on the field on Wednesday, and they looked sharp, with three pitchers combining for a one-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Harris County Tigers.
Callaway and Harris County were supposed to play on Monday, but that game was postponed because of rain.
The Cavaliers also had games on Saturday and Tuesday called off.
“We’ve been waiting on this forever,” said Josh Alise, who was the winning pitcher on Wednesday and had two hits, including an RBI double. “We’ve been working hard every day, doing what we can with the weather. We got better every single day.”
The field was still damp in spots, but head coach Dusty Hubbard said there was no doubt the game was going to be played unless there was another downpour.
“If I would have canceled game, they would have quit,” Hubbard said with a grin. “We had to play.”
Pitching figures to be a strength for the Cavaliers this season, and that was certainly the case against Harris County.
Nick O’Berry, Alise and Kane Keith combined to overwhelm the Harris County offense.
The Tigers had a one-out hit in the fourth inning, and they reached a few other times on walks, but that was it.
O’Berry, a junior coming off a terrific sophomore season, started and pitched the first three innings, and he didn’t allow a hit.
Alise then got the call, and he surrendered a hit in the fourth inning, but he retired the final eight batters he faced.
“I haven’t been throwing much. But my arm was feeling good today, and I just got it done,” Alise said. “I threw strikes and let my defense work. They did a good job.”
Alise didn’t pitch last season because Hubbard felt he couldn’t afford to move him from his spot at shortstop.
“He’s a guy we didn’t throw at all last year because we felt like we didn’t have a shortstop we felt good about,” Hubbard said. “We do now, and he’s going to be a big part of our staff.”
Senior Kane Keith, who teamed with O’Berry to give the Cavaliers a dominant one-two punch in the rotation last season, pitched the seventh inning, and he worked around two walks to earn the save.
After putting two runners on, Keith finished the game with a flourish with a strikeout on three pitches.
Offensively, the Cavaliers notched single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In the fourth, Keith doubled, and Hunter Heath put down a well-placed bunt that was misplayed, allowing the first run to score.
In the fifth, Alise got things started with a double, and he moved to third on an O’Berry groundout.
With two outs, Perry Keith’s double brought in another run, and it was 2-0.
After the Tigers went down in order in the top of the sixth, thanks in part to a nifty play by third baseman Terry Godwin on a sharply-hit grounder, the Cavaliers added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
With two runners on, Alise delivered a clutch two-out single to cap the scoring.
“We left some runners. We need to do a better job with that,” Hubbard said. “But not having been on the field a whole lot, they played well.”
The Cavaliers now turn their attention to the LaGrange Toyota Invitational.
The Cavaliers will play two tournament games on Friday and two more on Saturday, beginning with a matchup against Eagle’s View (Fla.) at 3 p.m. on Friday.