Baseball player of the week (5/20): Melissa's Cade Cruce

What he did: In Game 2 of Melissa’s series with Argyle, the No. 4-ranked 3A team in the state, Cruce helped save Melissa from elimination with a bases-loaded double with two outs to break a tie. In the deciding Game 3, he pitched a complete game, hit his second home run of the series, and drove in three runs to give Melissa a 13-4 win.

Who is he? A 5-11 junior pitcher, shortstop and center fielder.

The stats: Cruce is hitting .400 with three home runs and 31 RBIs. On the mound, he is 2-1 with 11 strikeouts and a 4.58 ERA in 181/3 innings.

He said it: “For me, going into Game 3, knowing that I was on the mound and that the fate of the team pretty much rested on my hands, yeah, I was nervous. I wanted to make sure that I threw strikes.”

Coach said it: “Clutch hits for him everywhere. He went from shortstop to center field to pitching Game 3 on the mound after all that. … He just went after them, worked both sides of the plate, did a good job throwing off-speed pitches in fastball counts. I think that was the big thing.” — Joe Williams

Did you know? Cruce is in his first semester at Melissa, moving from Gunter after Christmas break. He was a running back for the Gunter football team. … He recently returned to pitching after sustaining a shoulder injury in the fall. … Cruce is getting interest from a number of colleges, including Georgia and Arkansas. … Melissa plays Spring Hill in the 3A regional semifinals.

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