CORINTH — There wasn’t too much offense to speak of in the District 5-4A opener between Denton and Lake Dallas on Tuesday night.
But on a chilly night in Corinth, both starting pitchers put on dazzling performances.
Lake Dallas senior pitcher Keenan Wingfield racked up 11 strikeouts in the Falcons’ 2-1 victory over Denton.
“He’s had electric stuff for us,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said. “He’s been our guy. Even last year he was our guy. He commands three pitches, and he’s a senior with a lot of experience, and we expect a lot out of him. He didn’t let us down tonight.”
Wingfield nursed a one-run lead in the final three innings for the complete-game victory. He closed out the game when he got Broncos pitch hitter Ryan Duggan to swing at a high strike, a constant theme throughout the night.
Four errors in the contest proved costly for the Broncos, mistakes Lake Dallas pounced on in a game of few scoring chances.
Lake Dallas (5-4-1) tied the game in the bottom of the third when senior Michael Cox singled in junior Jackson Owens. Owens had singled with two outs and advanced two bases on a throwing error by Denton starting pitcher Roman Arnold.
The Falcons took advantage of another Denton (4-6) mistake the following inning. Falcons pinch runner Tony Green was stealing third base and Denton freshman third baseman Malik Minter couldn’t handle the throw from catcher David Morris. Green then sprinted toward home plate and was well ahead of Minter’s throw, putting the Falcons ahead by a run.
That was all Wingfield needed.
“We can’t mistakes like we did tonight and expect to beat good people like this,” Denton head coach Glen Harrison said. “We just can’t do it. We can’t have four errors and expect to win.”
As impressive as Wingfield was, Arnold was just as strong for the Broncos. He pitched all six innings, striking out five and allowing two walks.
Denton lost its top three pitchers from last season. After struggling early in the year, Harrison said Arnold has improved of late.
“He struggled early in the scrimmages, didn’t throw many strikes and he was missing his spots,” Harrison said. “But his last two outings, he’s really thrown well. And tonight, he threw his butt off. He did a great job. He threw well enough to win.”
Denton’s first and only run came in the first inning and was unearned. Falcons third baseman T.J. Sullivan had trouble fielding a one-hop grounder off the bat of Mark Johnson. Sullivan bobbled the ball and his throw to first base was off the mark, allowing Johnson to comfortably scoot into second base.
On the ensuing pitch, Morris singled in Johnson to put the Broncos ahead.
From there, Wingfield threw strikes early in at-bats and the Broncos only mustered two more hits.
Denton first baseman Trevor Claytor led the Broncos at the plate, going 2 for 3. Cox went 1 for 2 with a walk for the Falcons.
Lake Dallas was without starting catcher Chad Pennington, who should be back within the next two to three weeks after recovering from rotator cuff surgery, Tompkins said.
Freshman Christian Boulware started in Pennington’s absence, joining center fielder Daniel Rivera as the other freshman on the field. Denton’s got youth of its own after only returning two full-time starters from last season.
For now, with Wingfield leading the team on the mound and in the dugout, Tompkins’ squad can afford to mature in a competitive district.
“We haven’t hit the ball great yet,” Tompkins said. “We’re starting to see the ball a little bit better, but a win’s a win early. I’ve watched everybody play except Wichita Falls, and it is going to be a dogfight every week.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
LAKE DALLAS 2, DENTON 1
WP – Keenan Wingfield (2-1). LP – Roman Arnold (1-2). Records – Denton (4-6), Lake Dallas (5-4-1).