When Garron Bates was at the plate for Wichita Falls and Mark Johnson was on the mound for Denton, it meant trouble for the Broncos on Tuesday.
Bates, who was 3-for-3 off Johnson, hit a three-run home run in the third inning and a two-run homer in the fourth to chase Johnson from the game and lift the Coyotes to a 10-5 victory at Bronco Field — their fifth District 5-4A win.
“We had a little spark offensively and made it a game, but we can’t fall behind that quickly,” Denton coach Glen Harrison said. “When you’re 0-2 or 1-2 on a hitter, you can’t make pitches where they can get good wood on it. The second home run was a curveball and he threw it too fat. That pitch has to be in the dirt.”
The Broncos, who recently have struggled to start strong at home, couldn’t give Johnson any breathing room. Their defense allowed two runs to score on an error and a passed ball in the first inning.
“We should have been out of that inning with no runs if we catch an infield fly ball,” Harrison said. “We hit the leadoff runner, we dropped the fly ball and both of those runs scored.”
After the first of Bates’ homers put the Coyotes ahead 5-0, the Broncos fought back with two runs in bottom of the third. After Bowie Farris and Terrance Lucas reached on singles to start the inning, John Collins and Johnson’s RBI singles got the Broncos in the game.
Denton looked as if it might add more runs, but Josh Chavez’s liner to right field went for a double play to end the inning when a Bronco was picked off at first base.
The fourth inning wasn’t any more kind to Johnson than the third, as Koy Daws led off with a double and scored on a balk to make it 6-2 when Johnson dropped the ball as he was spinning it in his right hand behind his back during his gaze into home plate.
Kade Hutchins then walked to set up Pete Thomas for an RBI single to put the Coyotes ahead 7-2.
Bates’ home run to left blew the game open at 10-2 and forced Harrison to put in reliever Luke Satterfield, who was one of the bright spots for Denton with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
“Mark [Johnson] didn’t have his knuckleball working today, and Old High [Wichita Falls] does a good job if you miss your spots,” Harrison said. “If it’s working, he [Johnson] has done very well and he’s had good outings before, but you can’t get behind in counts. I thought Luke did a great job. He stopped the bleeding after they got the five runs. ”
Denton (7-15, 1-9 district) made an attempt at a comeback with three runs in the fifth inning. The heart of the order produced RBI singles from Collins and Johson and pinch hitter Roman Arnold singled to center to make it 10-5, but that’s all the Broncos could muster.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873.
WICHITA FALLS 10, DENTON 5
WP — Bucky Daws. LP — Mark Johnson. 2B — W: Koy Daws. HR — W: Bucky Daws (2).