There were times during Friday’s start when Guyer senior right-hander Kyle Vochoska did not have his best stuff. There were other times when the defense behind him was not at its best.
But through some long innings and some adversity, Vochoska battled through 6 1/3 innings to lead Guyer to a 7-2 win over Trophy Club Byron Nelson to secure the top spot in District 5-4A just three games into league play.
“It was a tough game,” Vochoska said. “I had to battle the whole time. Nothing was given to me. I even had a little feud with the umpire [over balls and strikes]. It all worked out though. You just have to make your pitches and get outs and never relax.”
Vochoska finished with 113 pitches and had four strikeouts before leaving with one out in the seventh inning. With a five-run cushion, head coach Johnny Kinzy wanted to give his No. 2 starter a chance to finish the game but a hit batter and a single brought on Daulton Horton to get the last two outs for the Wildcats (7-11, 3-0 district).
Vochoska labored at times in the middle innings of the game, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.
The Wildcats struggled with a few fly balls, letting an infield pop-up hit the ground as it was lost in the lights, dropping another fly ball in foul territory and losing track of a third fly ball in right-center field.
Aside from an inflated pitch count, only one of the mistakes hurt the Wildcats on the scoreboard as Nelson catcher Ryan Romero hit a one-out, two-run home run that was set up by a misplayed ball in the outfield to give the Bobcats (11-4-1, 1-2) their only two runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning.
But fortunately for Vochoska & Co., the Wildcats already had plenty of cushion with which to work, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after two innings behind some big hits of their own and lots of selectivity at the plate.
The Wildcats worked Bobcats starter Jeff Walburn in the first two innings, as he threw 28 pitches in the first inning, thanks to walks to Guyer’s first two hitters, Jud Kinzy and Cole Wessling.
The next batter, catcher Reid Battles, laced a two-run triple over the left fielder’s head to the wall in left-center before scoring on a sacrifice fly from cleanup hitter Domenic Pickering.
In the next inning, Kinzy drew a two-out walk after falling behind in the count to bring Wessling back to the plate. On a 1-0 pitch, the senior center fielder launched a home run to dead center to give the Wildcats the 5-0 lead.
“Playing at home with the wind blowing out, we had some good at-bats early and got some key hits early,” Johnny Kinzy said. “It gives you a cushion and a little room for error because that little two-run homer they hit doesn’t hurt you. The wind was blowing out and the ball was carrying. He [Vochoska] did a great job of keeping the ball in the park.”
Vochoska, who along with Jud Kinzy and two other Guyer players, battled a stomach virus this week and fought the entire game despite having just one hitless inning — the sixth. But aside from the fourth-inning home run, he never let the Bobcats get to him, stranding seven baserunners.
One key escape came in the top of the second after Guyer had jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Vochoska loaded the bases with one out with the help of a dropped foul ball that gave Romero another chance to single to right. That brought Connor Bliss up for the Bobcats, and Vochoska induced a first-pitch groundball for an inning-ending double play.
“The best thing about Kyle is any time he’s out on the mound, he’s going to compete and the guys behind him on defense know he’ll give anything he can to the team to allow us to win a game,” Johnny Kinzy said. “He did a great job, and the guys played well enough behind him, in crucial times, to get us a win.”
The win puts the Wildcats alone in first place after just three games, a bit of a statistical oddity in an eight-team district, after Wichita Falls Rider knocked off Lake Dallas, the only other unbeaten, in extra innings Friday night.
“That’s where we’re supposed to be,” said Vochoska about their place atop the standings. “We plan to stay there.”
His head coach knows there is a long way to go — 11 games, to be exact — and the next one is Tuesday against a Lake Dallas squad that will be looking to bounce back from its tough extra-inning loss Friday night.
“It’s going to be fun,” Johnny Kinzy said. “Coach [John] Tompkins does a great job with those guys [at Lake Dallas]. They’ll always show up ready to play. But the good news is we always show up ready to play, too. We’ll see what happens on Tuesday.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
GUYER 7, TROPHY CLUB NELSON 2
WP — Kyle Vochoska. LP — Jeff Walburn. 2B — N: Si Alford, Tyler Frisby, Tyler Whitfield. 3B – G: Reid Battles. HR – N: Ryan Romero; G: Cole Wessling.