After being held to one run in a Thursday loss to Guyer, Denton wasn’t going to let another game be decided with its bats muted. The Lady Broncos produced 11 hits Friday and earned their second District 5-4A victory with an 13-3 decision over Wichita Falls in five innings at Bronco Field.
“We went back to the drawing board, and we started thinking about the other ways we can get on base with bunts and slaps,” Denton coach Rhana Ramos said. “We tried to play more of a short game and not necessarily focusing on going [out of the] yard. I think it has worked for us, especially in the top of the lineup.”
After Guyer’s patience at the plate drew 11 walks off Denton pitcher Natasha Kissell, she rebounded Friday with eight strikeouts while walking just two, with her only troublesome inning coming with the Lady Broncos already holding a 5-1 lead.
“My confidence definitely came from my teammates backing me up on defense,” Kissell said. “We did have a couple of little hiccups in the middle of the game, but we came back really strong toward the end. We didn’t give up.”
Kissell’s confidence wasn’t limited to the pitching circle, as she led the team with four RBIs, including a bases-clearing triple in the fifth that blew the game open. Kissell was the beneficiary of a change in the batting lineup as well, moving from the sixth spot to the third.
“She’s extremely overdue,” Ramos said. “She’s been hitting all year but needed to be in the right place in the lineup.”
Denton’s Jessica Juarez went 4-for-4 with two RBIs.
“Jessica has been big for us this year,” Ramos said. “She’s definitely one of the hardest-working kids I know. She’s improved at shortstop, she works hard at everything she does and hard work pays off.”
The Lady Coyotes jumped on Kissell in the first inning, with the first two batters reaching on infield hits to set up Regan Mayo for an RBI single to left field.
The Lady Broncos responded threefold in the bottom half of the inning with a mixture of speed and power.
Leadoff hitter Allie Shelton, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on the night, reached on an error, stole second and was driven home on Kissell’s RBI groundout to tie the game at 1. Then, Denton’s bats came alive with three straight solid shots to left. With Maddie Green reaching, Juarez and Mickie McMaster both doubled to put the Lady Broncos ahead 3-1.
The Lady Broncos added another run in the fourth. Shelton was awarded home plate when Wichita Falls’ throw went into the dugout after she tripled to left field.
After a three-up-and-three-down top of the third, Kissell singled to right to start the bottom half of the inning and scored when Juarez singled to left to give the Lady Broncos the 5-1 advantage.
“We started out the game a little loose and allowed them to score a couple, but it’s the cascade effect,” Ramos said. “As soon as you get one, you get confidence into the next one. That’s what we did, and we did it as a team.”
Kissell got herself into trouble in the fourth when she hit Katy Goen to start the inning, walked Courtney Pritchard for the second time in the game and allowed a single to Brittany Keath to load the bases. Marcela Lopez then smacked a double into center field to draw Wichita Falls back to within 5-3.
The Lady Broncos responded with eight runs in the fifth, taking advantage of several errors while scoring seven of the runs with two outs.
Juarez, who had two singles in the inning, led off with one to left. April Vanhoose walked and Juarez scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-3. Lauren Cowling reached on an infield hit, stole the Lady Broncos’ fifth base of the game and scored on Kissell’s triple that gave Denton a 10-3 lead. The Lady Broncos (13-8-1, 2-8 district) added three runs off three more Wichita Falls errors to go ahead 13-3 and end the game by way of the run rule.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873.
DENTON 13, WICHITA FALLS 3
WP — Natasha Kissell. LP — Delaney Bedunah. 2B — W: Marcela Lopez. D: Allie Shelton, Jessica Juarez, Mickie McMaster. 3B — D: Shelton, Kissell.