FORT WORTH — In its two games prior to Friday’s playoff opener, Guyer saw its bats come to life after a couple of one-run losses had put its playoff chances in minor jeopardy.
On Friday, the Wildcats jumped on Saginaw early en route to a 14-0 run-rule victory in a Class 4A Region I bi-district series opener.
The Wildcats (15-18), the second seed out of District 5-4A, put up five- and eight-run innings behind 12 hits and five Saginaw (17-13) errors to pull within a game of advancing to the area round of the playoffs. Game 2 is set for 4 p.m. today at Guyer, while Game 3, if necessary, would be played at 7 p.m.
“All together, 1 through 9, we were stringing hits together and scoring runs,” right fielder Tristan Brown said.
A big part of that was Brown, Guyer’s No. 8 hitter, who finished 3-for-3 with two triples and four RBIs.
Brown said the Wildcats knew what to expect from Saginaw starter Morry Watson.
“He kept pounding outside,” Brown said. “We’ve been working on that in practice. We’ve worked on outside pitches and just going with it, so I just went with those.”
After Guyer’s first two hitters of the second inning were retired, Brown’s two-run triple got the Wildcats on the board. By the time he hit his next two-run triple, also to right, the game was well in Guyer’s hands.
The bottom of the Wildcats’ order was huge, especially early when late fill-in Brandon Hendricks, who started for Alex Ramirez in left field after he was a late scratch due to a back injury, followed Brown’s first RBI triple with a single to left to score Brown.
“Getting back-to-back walks and Tristan Brown’s long [nine-pitch] at-bat and getting that triple, that’s what playoff baseball is about,” Guyer coach Johnny Kinzy said. “Hendricks comes up and gets an RBI after that when Alex can’t play. He had a great opportunity and made the most of it. You play for big innings.”
After Guyer sent nine batters to the plate in the second, pitcher Kyle Vochoska settled in to pitch an abbreviated complete-game shutout on just 47 pitches.
“Once we got that five-run lead, he did what he needs to do,” Kinzy said of his senior righty. “He pounded the zone and let our defense play, and our defense played extremely solid.”
Guyer has scored 36 runs in its last three games, and Kinzy said he hopes his team can keep rolling at the plate and advance to play the winner of a best-of-three series between Cleburne and Fort Worth Western Hills.
“I believe right now we’re playing the best baseball we’ve played all year long,” Kinzy said. “Hopefully we’ll get after it [today] and get even better.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.