In the opening game of District 5-4A for Lake Dallas and Denton, the visiting Falcons secured the timely hits when given the opportunity, and their defense got them out of several jams on the way to a 3-0 win on Tuesday night.
“We haven’t been getting that timely knock, and we had a couple tonight and took advantage of an error,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said. “It was big for us to score those runs early. We got out of some jams early, too, which was huge.”
The Falcons got on the board in the first inning after sophomore Daniel Rivera reached on an error and senior Danny Drodz, who led Lake Dallas at the plate going 2-of-3 with two RBIs, sent a single to the gap in right field to make it 1-0.
Then the Falcons’ defense took over with back-to-back double plays to end the first and second innings, including a bases-loaded jam in the first.
“We’ve played pretty good defense all year,” Tompkins said. “We haven’t hit as well as I thought we would at times, but we’ve been pretty good defensively. We’re young, we make some mistakes, but our freshman second baseman [Alex Peppard] has a nose for the ball. Getting out of a bases-loaded jam twice was big.”
Sophomore Grant Landry earned the win on the mound for the Falcons (6-7, 1-0 district), going five innings with three strikeouts.
“With a sophomore pitcher, he’s a pretty composed kid,” Tompkins said. “He loves baseball more than any other player I’ve coached, which says a lot. He’s been very efficient, and that’s why we gave the ball to him. We feel better defensively with him on the mound. He finds a way to get it done, and our whole plan was to get the ball to [Jackson] Owens with six outs left and the lead.”
Sophomore Christian Boulware put the Falcons in front 2-0 in the third inning on a fielder’s choice to score sophomore Daniel Rivera, who reached after being hit on with a pitch, advanced to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch by starter Mark Johnson.
The Falcons added a key insurance run in the sixth inning. After senior Jackson Owens singled and stole second to start off the inning, Drodz singled up the middle, just out of the reach of Johnson’s outstretched glove and into center field to give Lake Dallas the 3-0 lead.
In the final two innings, Owens struck out five Broncos (3-9, 0-1), while allowing just the one single to earn the save.
“He’s a late-inning guy and a six-out guy that we’re going to use if we have the lead late because he’s so important for us to hold down that shortstop spot,” Tompkins said of Owens. “He’s a big-time player, but he’s also really competitive on the mound, so we’re hoping we could use him in that roll. We were hoping we wouldn’t get back to the top of the lineup, but he does a good job competing.”
Tomkins was happy to start off the district with a win and hopes his team can get to eight district wins this year after going 7-7 and losing to Azle in the final district game last season.
“I don’t care who we beat or how we beat them, we’re trying to win eight, and if it turns out like last year, eight can get you in,” Tompkins said. “Everybody’s evenly matched, so it’s going to come down to the last week. I just told our kids to hold the rope and don’t let go. We’ll see what happens.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.
Lake Dallas 3, Denton 0
WP – Grant Landry. LP – Mark Johnson. S – Jackson Owens.