FEATURE: The “Key” to Success
ROUND ROCK – In what could be his final game of the season on the mound, Hayde Key went until he couldn't pitch anymore.
The Ridge Point junior tossed the maximum number of pitches allowed in a game before Clinton Welch had to come get him off of the mound.
Key, once again did what he's done all season for Ridge Point – put them in a position to win and preserving the bullpen.
"Hayde has been doing that," Welch said. "He has been eating up a lot of innings. That's for sure."
All season, Key has been one of the tougher pitchers in the Greater Houston area to figure out.
In March and April, Key posted a 0.86 ERA and in his junior campaign lost only two games. Entering the Class 6A State Semifinal game on Friday, Key was 5-0 with a 1.65 ERA in the playoffs.
"I'd just say command," Key said about what has been different for him this season. "Getting ahead of hitters, working at a fast pace."
His success on the mound, Key credited his team's depth and that they are all fighters.
On Friday, Key had to fight his way out of a couple of sticky situations, where McKinney Boyd could have blown the game open.
Key finished facing 31 batters, giving up no extra base knocks amongst the six hits he surrendered over 6 2/3 innings. The junior forced 10 flyouts and four groundouts by game's end and stranded seven Broncos' runners on the bases.
"It's awesome, every time he pitches we're a really confident team," Ridge Point's Jack Baker said. "He works his butt off. We have a lot of confidence in him."
The confidence in Key trickles up to Welch.
Watching Key go out for his starts this season, Welch said the reason the Texas Tech commit has been so dynamic this season on the mound is because he doesn't want to give him a reason to come take the ball away.
"Main thing is just competitiveness," he said. "He gets out there, he wants the ball. He doesn't want the ball taken away from him."