In a matchup of teams with 1-3 District 5-4A records, Wichita Falls and Denton put runners on base only to see their pitchers snuff out each rally by not allowing the crucial, game-breaking hit.
After six scoreless innings, it was the visiting Lady Coyotes who delivered the timely hit, as they came up with four runs in the seventh inning for a 4-0 victory over the Lady Broncos on Wednesday.
“We’re just one hit away,” Denton coach Rhana Ramos said. “One big hit away from being in these ballgames or coming out on top. We’ve got to find a way to stay encouraged and help our teammates out when we are struggling. We are very capable of doing much better than we did tonight, and they know that. We’ve just got to get focused and ready for the next one.”
After the Lady Broncos, who held a 7-5 hits advantage heading into the seventh, came up with singles from Allie Shelton and Cori Wilkinson in the sixth, Delaney Bedunah shut down Denton’s offense by striking out Mikayla McMaster and forcing Courtnie Walker to fly out to center field to get out of the jam.
Natasha Kissell allowed the Lady Coyotes just one hit out of the infield through the first six innings, but she hit the leadoff batter in the seventh and Lateria Hughes came up with the timely hit the Lady Broncos could not find.
Hughes belted a go-ahead triple to right field and scored on a throwing error to give Wichita Falls a 2-0 lead. After Kissell struck out the next batter, Marcela Lopez reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored on a dropped fly ball. Bedunah singled, and another throwing error gave the Lady Coyotes the 4-0 edge.
“Natasha did really well in the circle tonight,” Ramos said. “She definitely kept them off balance 99 percent of the game. I just don’t feel that we were prepared to hit. We didn’t do very well offensively. We made a couple of base running errors. We just weren’t ready.”
The Lady Broncos (5-14, 1-4 district) had shown that they could get runs across the plate in their two previous losses and had plenty of chances against Wichita Falls (14-7, 2-3), but they could not find a way to crack Bedunah when their chances arose.
“Overall, I feel like we’re a much stronger program than we’ve ever been,” Ramos said. “We’re hitting the ball really well; we’ve just got to make them timely. We’ve got to take advantage of all the opportunities that we’re given, encourage each other and hopefully come out on top a little more in the second half of district.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.
Wichita Falls 4, Denton 0
WP – Delaney Bedunah. LP – Natasha Kissell. 2B – D: Allie Shelton. 3B – WF: Lateria Hughes.