Though Friday’s game wasn’t quite the pitchers’ duel Guyer found itself in Tuesday in a loss to Lake Dallas, the Wildcats were plagued with some of the same issues and dropped a 3-2 decision to Wichita Falls Rider.
The Wildcats (7-13, 3-2 District 5-4A) stranded 12 runners, including seven in scoring position, leaving at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first six innings.
“We just left way too many people in scoring position, and we have to get them in,” Guyer coach Johnny Kinzy said. “We put ourselves in a good position to get people in and then didn’t execute. We’ll correct that and get better at it and score runs.”
The loss was Guyer’s second straight by one run, after the Wildcats fell 1-0 to rival Lake Dallas in a 10-inning heartbreaker Tuesday. With Lake Dallas’ walk-off loss to Wichita Falls on Friday, the Falcons and Wildcats are joined by Rider, Wichita Falls and Trophy Club Nelson in a five-way tie atop the 5-4A standings with two games remaining in the first half of district play.
“It’s 100 percent wide open,” Kinzy said of the district battle. “It’s a dogfight. It doesn’t matter who it is. There is no weak team in this district. Every team is capable of beating another team. We have to get back on that winning streak come Tuesday [at home against Wichita Falls].”
Guyer squandered perhaps its best chance to do serious damage in the bottom of the first inning as two of the Wildcats’ first three hitters singled off Rider starter Jordan McQuerry.
With one out and runners on first and third, cleanup hitter Domenic Pickering lined a shot back at McQuerry, who knocked the ball down, collected it and tossed it to catcher Mason Stone as Jud Kinzy was sliding into home. The play at the plate was close but Kinzy was called out, earning a small protest from the Guyer head coach.
The Wildcats went on to load the bases with two outs before starting pitcher Kyle Vochoska hit a grounder to shortstop Nick Russell, who touched second base for the force to end the inning with no damage done.
In the next inning, the Raiders (16-4, 3-2) were more fortunate at the plate.
With runners on second and third base and two outs, No. 9 hitter Dylan Hutcheson laced a double down the left field line to plate two runs and give the Raiders an early 2-0 lead.
“[Vochoska] pitched well enough to win the game and we played good enough defense to win the game,” Johnny Kinzy said. “He gave up the key hit in the second inning, and he battled the whole game. They also had guys in scoring position and we worked out of it with Kyle bearing down.”
Cole Wessling’s two-run triple finally got the Wildcats on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, but two innings later the Raiders bounced back.
With runners on first and third and two outs with McQuerry at the plate, Hutcheson took off from first and Vochoska turned and fired to Jud Kinzy at second, getting Hutcheson in a rundown.
Landon Geisinger took off for home during the rundown and scored before the Wildcat defenders dropped the ball, allowing Hutcheson to be safe at second.
“That is 100 percent my fault,” Johnny Kinzy said. “We executed the way we work it in practice, minus getting the ball thrown home, but they had speed on third and first and had two strikes and that’s a situation where you just throw the pitch. That’s 100 percent me. I’ll take that one run and say it’s my fault, but we left way too many runs out there. That single play didn’t lose this game.”
In the bottom half of that inning, it looked like Guyer was poised to get at least the one run back. The top two hitters in the lineup got free passes as Jud Kinzy walked and Wessling was hit with the first offering from relief pitcher David Pewenofkit, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
A fielder’s choice then put runners on first and third with one out, but Pickering grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“They have to have confidence in key situations and go up with the approach that they’re going to get their teammate in,” Johnny Kinzy said. “We had some self-doubt tonight. You’re not going to be a very good baseball player or a very good baseball team if you have self-doubt.”
The Guyer coach said he has confidence his team can bounce back Tuesday against Wichita Falls and then close out the first half of district play with a win at Fort Worth Brewer.
“We have a lot of games left, so we have to bounce back,” Johnny Kinzy said. “We have to be tougher than that. The last two teams we’ve played — Lake Dallas and Rider — those are good teams. They play to win also. Both of them got the best of us this time, but we have to get back on track Tuesday and get back in the win column.
“We’re still in the position to do what our ultimate goal is, and that’s to get in the playoffs. We have to get back to winning. Tuesday is a big game and then we turn around and play Thursday [at Brewer], and we can be 5-2 after the first half. That’s a good position going to the second half.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
WICHITA FALLS RIDER 3, GUYER 2
WP — David Pewenofkit. LP — Kyle Vochoska. 2B — R: Dylan Hutcheson, Landon Geisinger. 3B — G: Cole Wessling.