A rally Denton worked all night to make happen ended in the blink of an eye.
Wichita Falls scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to run away with a 9-4 win at Bronco Field to remain perfect in District 5-4A play.
Denton (3-12, 0-3 district) looked to have solved the Coyotes in its half of the sixth when Mark Johnson tied the game with a single. Two batters later, with runners at first and third, Wichita Falls relief pitcher Pete Thomas was called for a balk that gave the Broncos a 4-3 lead.
But the Coyotes (7-6, 3-0) got three walks to open the next half inning and tied the game at 4-all when Hayden Russell was hit by a pitch. One batter later, starting pitcher Zack Murphy laced a three-run double to spur on a four-hit inning.
“We’ve had two tight district games, and we knew this game would be no different,” Denton coach Glen Harrison said. “We knew we had to play error free, and our bats helped us out a lot in the later innings. We thought at that point we had turned a corner and could slam the door shut, but we just didn’t finish.”
Wichita Falls took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but went cold for the majority of the game against Denton’s starting pitcher Roman Arnold, who only allowed one unearned run and four hits in five innings.
Conversely, the Coyotes’ Murphy found various ways to pitch himself out of jams as the game progressed. The Broncos finally got to Murphy in the bottom of the fifth off back-to-back singles by Johnson and Arnold. Murphy then walked Josh Boring to load the bases and Dylan Tekell made him pay with a two-run double to left-center field for a 2-1 lead.
Garron Bates reclaimed a 3-2 lead for Wichita Falls when he blasted a two-run homer off Denton reliever Malik Minter in the top of the sixth. Denton stole the lead again before the Coyotes’ big seventh inning put them ahead for good.
“You can tell we are right there; we just have to find ways to win the close games,” Harrison said.