CORINTH — Through the first round of District 4-4A play, the Lake Dallas Falcons had yet to experience what it was like to play a district game at home.
Rain and field renovations turned the Falcons into nomads for the first six games of district, but it didn’t stop them from holding second place in the district standings.
When the Falcons finally stepped on their newly planted home dirt on Wednesday night, they cut into Ryan’s district lead and handed the Raiders their first district loss of the season.
Dylan Andrews started and pitched four innings in the Falcons’ 4-2 home victory against the Raiders.
As the Falcons tended to the diamond following the game, the left-handed pitcher wore a protective cover over his shoulder. Andrews pitched in his second game after a shoulder injury.
“He struggled a little bit tonight, but he competes,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said of Andrews. “The guy competes, and when the guy competes, he gives us a chance to win.”
The victory cut’s Ryan’s district lead to one game over the Falcons (11-8, 5-2 district). After playing its first six district games on the road, Lake Dallas will play the remainder of its 4-4A schedule at home.
Anthony Garcia went 2 for 3 for Lake Dallas, while Dalyn Williams added an RBI double. Ryan’s James Marshall went 1 for 2 with two walks, while Tanner Whitlock had an RBI double. Those were Ryan’s only two hits in the game.
Andrews’ first start back was last week against Little Elm. Andrews threw 76 pitches in a complete game victory. Last year, Andrews went 7-0 for the Falcons.
Andrews (2-1) struggled with his control throughout the game. He allowed six walks, but Ryan’s bats were unable to capitalize on the free passes.
In the fourth inning, Ryan trailed 3-0 and Andrews walked the first two batters of the inning. With the bases loaded on two occasions, the Raiders (14-6, 6-1) were only able to muster one run.
Ryan starting pitcher Travis Wiley popped up to first base to end the inning, getting the Falcons out of the jam and keeping the lead intact.
Raiders head coach Bret Warnack said he felt like his team played hard and Wiley (2-2) pitched well, but his team’s offense was unable to come up with timely hits.
“It’s just a deal right there where it’s time for a big hit, and you have to do a good job of getting that done in that situation,” Warnack said. “It just didn’t happen for us tonight.”
Lake Dallas’ aggressive baserunning led to one of the biggest plays of the game. In the bottom of the third inning, Tim Drozd drew a walk as Dalyn Williams simultaneously stole third base.
Instead of stopping at first, Drozd casually kept going toward second, drawing the attention of Ryan’s defense and allowing Williams to slide into home safely.
Tompkins said it’s a situation his team constantly practices, and he wanted to force Ryan second baseman Brady Burger into a long throw to home plate. The plan worked.
The mental error ended up being counted as a stolen base, but errors crippled Ryan, as Lake Dallas never trailed. Ryan committed two errors, allowing the Falcons’ leadoff batters to reach base and eventually score.
Kennan Wingfield picked up the six-out save for Lake Dallas. Ryan’s Chris McKeehan relieved Wiley after 4 1/3 innings. Since Ryan is playing Greenville today in a nondistrict game, McKeehan, Warnack opted to use his No. 2 starter.
Lake Dallas will look to cut Ryan’s district lead to half a game when it plays Wichita Falls Rider today.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org .
LAKE DALLAS 4, RYAN 2
0 — 2
x — 4
WP – Dylan Andrews (2-1). LP – Travis Wiley (2-2). S – Keenan Wingfield. 2B – R: Tanner Whitlock. LD: Dalyn Williams.