As a sophomore pitcher on Guyer’s junior varsity team a couple of years ago, Daulton Horton threw more than 115 pitches in each of his first three starts.
In those three games, Horton never made it out of the third inning.
Times have changed for the Wildcat senior, and on Tuesday night, he threw the first complete game of his baseball career at any level, tossing a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Denton at Guyer.
“He did a great job of competing,” Guyer head coach Johnny Kinzy said. “There’s a couple of innings where they [Denton] get a couple of guys in scoring position and [Horton] gets in there and competes his tail off. We had good defense behind him and that combination allowed us to win a game.”
Guyer (7-7, 2-0 District 5-4A) had to deal with a competitive pitcher of its own in Denton’s Chris Torralba, who worked out of several jams and held the Wildcats to one run in his five-plus innings of work.
But that one run was a heartbreaker for the Broncos (3-11, 0-2) as Guyer was able to push a run across in the bottom of the third inning thanks to some defensive miscues.
With two outs, Guyer’s leadoff hitter Luke Cullum hit a single up the middle before courtesy runner Lucas Anderson stole second base and Tristan Brown followed with a hit-by-pitch to put runners on first and second for Guyer with two outs.
Torralba saw the opportunity to pick off Anderson at second, but the ball sailed into center field where it was bobbled by Malik Minter, allowing Anderson to score from second base.
“We were playing percentages there [stealing second with two outs], and luckily it worked for us,” Kinzy said. “We had two out and Lucas had a great slide. I didn’t think it’d be our only run, but it was.”
Denton coach Glen Harrison said he was pleased with Torralba’s performance, but added that his team can’t afford mistakes like the errant pick-off throw and the error in center.
“We call a pick, and we just didn’t execute it,” Harrison said. “That mistake cost us the run. I thought Chris pitched well — pitched his butt off. He threw strikes. We just made that one little mistake.”
Horton, who improved to 3-0, threw 96 pitches and struck out four while turning in three innings of fewer than 10 pitches. After a 21-pitch first inning, he settled in with perfect innings in the next four before running into trouble in the sixth.
But once again, Horton escaped danger after allowing a walk and hitting a batter, as Denton had a runner in scoring position with one but could get nothing out of it.
“I wanted to stay in the game,” said Horton, who needed 25 pitches to navigate through the sixth. “I wanted to throw a complete game. That was my goal. Everything just worked out, and I was able to get out of it.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Guyer 1, Denton 0
WP — Daulton Horton (3-0). LP — Chris Torralba. 2B — G: Riley Wilhoit. 3B — G: James Farris. Records — Denton 3-11, 0-2; Guyer 7-7, 2-0.