In Tuesday’s pivotal District 7-5A game against Keller, Guyer learned the hard way what a difference one game can make in the jumbled mess atop the district standings.
The Wildcats managed only three hits as Keller scored the game-winning run in the top of the sixth inning to beat Guyer 3-2 and move into a three-way tie for second place in the district standings, putting the Wildcats a game back of that pack as the fifth team in the standings with two games to play in the regular season.
“Whoever won this game tonight was gonna get the upper hand toward the playoffs,” Guyer head coach Johnny Kinzy said. “We knew that, and obviously Keller knew that. We got our runs early, they got their runs, and then they scratched a run in the sixth inning. We had some opportunities. Give credit to their pitcher. He did a good job of working out of some jams.”
The loss puts Guyer (15-9-1, 7-5 district) one game behind Keller (14-10-2, 8-4), Coppell and Keller Fossil Ridge, who are all one game back of first-place Southlake Carroll following Tuesday night’s games. One of those games included an upset as Saginaw picked up its first district win as a Class 5A program by beating Fossil Ridge.
Early in Tuesday’s game, it appeared Keller starter Matt Custred would be doomed for a short outing after he reached 54 pitches after only two innings of work and trailed 2-0.
Guyer was no-hit by Keller in the teams’ previous meeting March 23, a game in which Keller was held to only one hit by Guyer starter Connor Garcia. But the Wildcats found ways to score runs in the bottom of the second inning Tuesday.
Cole Wessling led off the inning with a single and Jud Kinzy walked. Then Rance Schindler singled and Lance Cullum drew a walk to load the bases after Wessling scored on a wild pitch.
With the bases full, Collin Walding took a pitch off the elbow to bring Kinzy home and give the Wildcats the early 2-0 advantage.
But Custred allowed one hit from that point and held Guyer scoreless for the remaining five innings en route to a complete-game win on 128 pitches, striking out 10.
“We just wanted to make sure we laid off the high fastball,” Johnny Kinzy said. “He [Custred] wasn’t throwing his breaking pitch for a strike early in the game, and then in the later innings, when he started getting tired, he found his breaking pitch, and it was a good one.”
Garcia was once again good against the Indians as he carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Evan Anthony broke it up with a one-out single. Two batters later, the Indians tied the game on a two-out, two-run home run by Chase Lee.
“He competed his tail off,” Johnny Kinzy said of his senior pitcher. “That’s a tough game. You flip a coin, either team could’ve won that game. We pitched well and played good defense. They pitched well and played good defense. They ended up with one more clutch hit than us, that’s all it came down to.”
In the top of the sixth inning, Keller struck again when cleanup hitter Zacharias Hardy took an outside pitch to right field on a 3-2 pitch to bring home Anthony and give Keller the winning margin.
Guyer got a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth from catcher Isaack Lopez, but Custred worked out of the jam with two strikeouts and a fly out, leaving Guyer runners stranded on first and third.
In all, Guyer left seven runners stranded, including four in scoring position.
Now, Guyer has two games left in the regular season against perhaps the two best teams in the district in Fossil Ridge and Southlake Carroll, teams that beat Guyer by a combined score of 19-2 in the first meetings.
Guyer plays host to Fossil Ridge on Friday and travels to Southlake Carroll a week from Friday.
Johnny Kinzy said he views both games as must-win games heading into the postseason. If Guyer wins out and gets some help, the Wildcats could still win the district championship.
“The way I looked at it is the playoff series are best two out of three, and we had three games left going into this game,” Kinzy said. “We have to win two out of three. It’s pretty simple. We lost the first of what we can consider playoffs, and we have to win the next two. It’s possible. You have to have a short memory. I believe in these kids. I have full confidence we’ll beat Fossil Ridge on Friday and then turn around and beat Southlake next Friday.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
KELLER 3, GUYER 2
WP – Matt Custred. LP – Connor Garcia. 2B – G: Isaack Lopez. HR – K: Chase Lee. Records – Keller (14-10-2, 8-4). Guyer (15-9-1, 7-5).