For five innings on Friday night, it seemed as though Guyer starting pitcher Kyle Vochoska was doing just enough to get by against the last-place Denton Broncos.
But after 73 pitches, the senior right-hander buckled down over the last two innings to make a one-run Guyer lead stand — striking out four batters over the final two frames — for a 3-2 victory over its crosstown rival. Guyer remained in a tie for the top spot in District 5-4A.
“Kyle gave up some hits early, but he settled in there at the end and found his fastball and his location and really gave us a good outing,” Guyer coach Johnny Kinzy said. “It was a close game. He did a great job competing and getting us the win. The location was there, and he picked up some velocity at the end.”
The Wildcats (10-14, 6-3 district) followed the same path as Vochoska, struggling at times early before coming through when it mattered most at the end.
After Denton (7-13, 1-7) scored on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Charles Boosa in the top of the fourth, the Broncos led 2-1, then got an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the frame to hold the lead entering the fifth.
“That’s indicative of what we’ve done throughout the whole district race,” Denton coach Glen Harrison said of the close loss. “I hate saying the same thing over and over every Tuesday and Friday; our kids are playing their tails off.”
Heading to the bottom of the fifth, it seemed as though Guyer’s place atop the district could be in jeopardy, but the Wildcats manufactured some runs of their own.
It started when No. 9 hitter Zak Koehler drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch.
Koehler then swiped third base, and on a 2-2 count with leadoff hitter Jud Kinzy at the plate, Mark Johnson got Kinzy swinging for what would have been the first out, but the ball slipped past Denton catcher David Morris.
Jud Kinzy advanced to first base on the dropped third strike and Koehler went home to tie the game.
After Kinzy stole second base and Reid Battles lined out to shortstop, Domenic Pickering came up with two outs and laced a single to center field to score Kinzy as the eventual game winner.
“Johnny [Kinzy] and Guyer do a good job of manufacturing runs and creating pressure for the defense, and if you make too many mistakes on them, it’ll cost you,” Harrison said. “I’m proud of the kids. We’re so close. It’s just another game where you’re right there and can’t seem to put them away.”
After getting the lead, Vochoska cruised on the mound, mowing through the Broncos and putting up his first two clean innings of the night in the sixth and seventh. In the middle innings on a couple of occasions, Kinzy sent relievers to the bullpen to warm up in case Vochoska got into trouble.
But other than the top of the fourth when Vochoska threw 23 pitches and Denton scored just one run after loading the bases with one out, that trouble never really came, and Kinzy was able to stick with his senior, who finished with five strikeouts.
“Kyle’s a senior with a lot of experience and has been out there for us, but you never know if there’s a situation there where we could’ve needed to go another route,” Johnny Kinzy said. “But he’s always wanting to get out there and compete, so it’d be tough to go take the ball away from him.”
Despite Guyer’s win being far from convincing, Kinzy said he was happy to notch another one, especially in the jumbled mess that is 5-4A baseball.
Guyer, Azle and Wichita Falls Rider are in a tie for first place, while Trophy Club Nelson, which beat Lake Dallas on Friday, is in second place. Lake Dallas, which plays Denton today in a rescheduled game, could pull into a tie for second with Nelson if the Falcons beat the Broncos. Guyer will face Nelson on the road Tuesday.
“One through eight in our district, any given night someone can beat someone,” Kinzy said. “Denton got after Azle and got a win. [Fort Worth] Brewer’s beaten some good teams. You have to be ready to play. It’s game by game right now, and it’s going to be a dogfight until the very end.”
GUYER 3, DENTON 2
WP — Kyle Vochoska. LP — Mark Johnson. 2B — G: Chris Monroe. Records — Denton (7-13, 1-7). Guyer (10-14, 6-3).