Denton unable to dig out of early hole in its loss to Wichita Falls
Consistency is key in baseball. For the Denton Broncos, their lack of consistency in the white chalk of the batter’s box ended up costing them in their game against District 5-5A foe Wichita Falls on Monday night.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn’t get the big hit that we needed,” Denton coach Nick Buck said.
The Broncos fell to the Coyotes 4-2 at Cotton Nix Field.
Denton notched six hits — just one short of its opponent — but failed to drive a ball out of the infield when it mattered.
“Our hitting, although it wasn’t timely as we would’ve liked it to be, we stepped up to the box with aggression,” Buck said. “We were hitting some balls hard, but we just couldn’t do it consistently.”
The Coyotes started off with a 2-0 lead in the first inning from a blast that left the structure in left center by Bailey O’Dell. O’Dell’s home run drove in his teammate and ace on the mound John Devilbiss for the two-run round trip.
After the Coyotes gained the early lead, Dimitri Cruz, Denton’s starter on the hill, kept his composure, pitching three more innings.
“Overall, it’s what I expect from him,” Buck said. “We left a couple pitches up, and that’s what seemed to hurt us, but I think after giving up a base hit and then the two-run bomb he settled down and got into his groove.
“It was the first district game he’s thrown in, and to see that from a junior is refreshing.”
With no outs in the fourth inning with the bases loaded, Malik Minter drove in a run, cutting the Coyotes’ lead 2-1. The next batter, Julian Moberly, slapped one back to the mound, Devilbiss threw it to the plate for a force out, then the catcher ripped it to first base for the double play. With two still on base, Dolan Nicholson fanned swinging to end the Broncos’ threat.
An inning later, with no outs and Coyotes at the corners, Buck, replaced Cruz the team’s shortstop, Minter. On Minter’s first pitch, a Coyote drilled one to deep right. Nicholson caught it in right field and threw it on a rope to the plate, but the throw was just a step behind Devilbiss, who slid into home, giving the Coyotes a two-run lead.
In the sixth frame, the Broncos began to battle each at bat.
On a full-count pitch, George Elliott was retired. However, with two outs, it looked as if the Broncos found some light in their lineup when Minter ripped another single parallel to the third base line, placing Josh Boring in scoring position.
Buck then chose to have his four-year starter, Josh Chavez pinch hit. Chavez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nicholson then ripped a challenging grounder to second, beating the throw to first and recording an RBI single. With great anticipation, Cruz tried to swing for the fences, but popped out to end Denton’s chances.
In the seventh inning, the Coyotes brought in their reliever Marshall Swiger. Swiger, a side-arm pitcher, retired one Bronco and forced ground outs to the last two to end the game.
“I told the guys from the get-go that this is a dog-fight district, and it’s going to be a battle every single game; but needless to say, we’ve got to find a way to string a few hits and stay consistent with our play,” Buck said.
JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @HowToJimmer12.
Wichita Falls 4, Denton 2
Wichita Falls — B. O’Dell HR, J. Venable 2B, A. Jaramillo 2B.
Denton — George Elliot 2B, John Collins, 2B.