CORINTH — As Guyer starting pitcher Jud Kinzy was being pulled from Tuesday’s game against Lake Dallas in the bottom of the 10th inning of a scoreless contest, he walked past the pitcher he’d opposed through nine innings as Lake Dallas’ Keenan Wingfield was standing at first base after being beaned by Kinzy.
The two briefly exchanged words — mutual respect for what they had just done — before Kinzy was relieved by sophomore Kegan Branum with no outs and Wingfield aboard.
Seven pitches later, Wingfield crossed home plate after stealing second base and scoring on a blooper down the right-field line from Kyle Wilson to give the Falcons a 1-0 win in an extra-innings thriller and hand Guyer its first defeat in District 5-4A play.
“I told him [Wilson] he wasn’t going to hit today [before the game] because he’s been struggling,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said. “I told him to be ready to hit at the end though because he might have the most important at-bat of the game, and he came through.”
Tompkins might not have expected the end of the game to come in the 10th inning with Wingfield and Kinzy battling after entering the night as two of the best pitchers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The game lived up to the hype of the expected pitching duel, as both pitchers were pulled with no outs in the 10th — Wingfield after 141 pitches and Kinzy after 131.
Wingfield took a no-hitter into the seventh inning — allowed two on the night — while Kinzy surrendered four hits, struck out 15 and walked none.
“It probably is [the best],” Guyer head coach Johnny Kinzy said when asked if Tuesday night was the best he’d seen his son pitch. “Early on he had to work out of a couple of innings, but then got in a good groove and competed his tail off, and the defense played well behind him.”
For Tompkins and his squad, the win avoided a second straight extra-innings loss after the Falcons (10-5-2, 3-1 district) lost to Wichita Falls Rider on Friday night in nine innings, spoiling a stellar pitching effort from Michael Cox.
“If you lose two of those in a row, your kids can go down a mental drain, so that’s a huge win,” Tompkins said. “We just tell our kids to respect the game and play hard and they’ll be rewarded. Tonight we got a reward after taking a lump by Rider last week.”
Guyer (7-12, 3-1) had its chances to get to Wingfield, especially early in the game and then in extras.
In the first inning, Guyer used an error and a walk to get runners on second and third base with one out but could not push a run across.
In the fifth, the Wildcats reached on a two-out error and then drew two walks to bring up their best hitter, catcher Reid Battles, with the bases loaded. Battles stroked an 0-1 pitch to center field but right to freshman Daniel Rivera.
Then in the top of the ninth, Kinzy had the opportunity to help himself with runners on second and third base. Johnny Kinzy put on a squeeze play, but the pitch from Wingfield came in high and inside, missing Kinzy’s bat and allowing the Falcons to tag out Daulton Horton in a rundown. After that, Kinzy popped up to end the inning.
“It’s one of those things where I told them we had missed opportunities, but guess what? They had some, too, on their part,” Johnny Kinzy said of the back-and-forth nature of the bend-don’t-break game. “I guarantee they got the win, and we got the loss, but both teams got better after that game.”
Between all of those opportunities, both pitchers showed their stuff.
Over the course of the third, fourth and fifth innings, Wingfield struck out five of six Guyer hitters, finishing with nine punchouts. In the third and fourth, Kinzy fanned five of six and then two more in the fifth.
After all of that, Tompkins relished the chance to not only pull into a multi-team tie atop the 5-4A standings and hand Guyer its first loss but to beat one of his squad’s biggest rivals.
“They’ve got a great arm, they’re a great team, they’re well coached, and they play hard …,” Tompkins said of Guyer. “It’s a rivalry game for us. I don’t know what it is for them, but it’s a rivalry game for us. We want to win that game.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
LAKE DALLAS 1, GUYER 0
WP — Michael Cox. LP — Jud Kinzy. Records — Guyer 7-12, 3-1; Lake Dallas 10-5-2, 3-1.