For a while Tuesday, it seemed as though a great effort from Guyer starting pitcher Jud Kinzy could be spoiled by one bad pitch in a fashion that has plagued the Wildcats in recent seasons — losing pitching duels.
Kinzy gave up an RBI triple to Azle’s Chase McBay in the top of the third inning and the Wildcats were facing Azle’s ace pitcher Colton Carpenter in the District 5-4A opener for both teams and fighting an uphill battle.
Instead, Guyer put together a big inning and started district play on a winning note, notching a 4-1 win behind a three-hit, nine-strikeout performance from Kinzy and some timely hitting in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“Carpenter has been an ace for them now for three years,” said Guyer head coach Johnny Kinzy. “We knew what we were facing going into this game. You try to scratch runs when you can and play for the big inning.”
The Wildcats (3-8, 1-0) did just that, and they didn’t need any big hits to do it, instead relying on plate discipline and a few singles.
Daulton Horton led off the inning with a single up the middle before a failed sacrifice bunt attempt brought up the top of Guyer’s order and Cole Wessling. Wessling walked and Jud Kinzy was hit by a pitch while squaring to bunt and pinch runner Tristan Brown scored on a wild pitch. After that, Kyle Vochoska and Reid Battles each hit RBI singles to give Jud Kinzy the cushion he needed moving forward.
“That three-run inning is big,” said Jud Kinzy, who had just one three-ball count on the night and worked seven innings in just 81 pitches. “We have to come in and do that every time out. I knew coming in that dugout those last couple of innings we’d score a couple and we’d definitely win that game. You could just tell by the guys in the dugout. They had a good mindset.”
The Wildcats were led at the plate by Horton, who went 2 for 3 and Vochoska and Battles, who each went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.
Kinzy struck out the side in the top of the first inning before sitting Azle (9-3) down in order again in the second, but in the third inning, the Hornets got to Kinzy a bit.
Azle’s Trey Ramos, hit a first-pitch liner over Vochoska’s glove at third base before McBay drilled a 1-1 pitch over the center fielder’s head for an RBI triple before Kinzy finished the inning with one of his nine strikeouts.
After that third inning, Kinzy had nothing but smooth sailing and finished the night with four perfect frames.
“The slider was working really well tonight, but locating the fastball really got those guys out in front,” the senior right-hander said. “Making them guess out there really helped.”
The Guyer head coach said he knew the Hornets were aggressive at the plate and that his son could take advantage of that by throwing lots of strikes and relying on his defense.
“He did a great job of definitely working ahead,” Johnny Kinzy said. “He just did a great job of pounding the zone early in the count and getting ahead. Then he could throw any pitch, any count. He did a great job pitching and we had great defense behind him.”
After a rough start to the season that included tournament losses to such powerhouses as Frisco Wakeland, Plano, Flower Mound and Flower Mound Marcus, Johnny Kinzy said the winning start to district play is a nice reward for a brutal nondistrict schedule.
That continues this weekend in the Highland Park tournament, where Guyer will open with Saginaw Boswell before going to Denton on Tuesday.
“In the tournaments we’ve been in the first two weekends, we’ve played some pretty salty teams,” Johnny Kinzy said. “We try to win every time we play, but when you’re playing five games in three days your pitching is going to be taxed and it’s not a usual matchup all the time. We try to win but we also put it in perspective. We kept saying our record is 0-0, and after tonight it’s 1-0.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
GUYER 4, AZLE 1
WP – Jud Kinzy. LP – Colton Carpenter. 3B – A: Chase McBay. Records – Azle (9-3, 0-1). Guyer (3-8, 1-0).