CORINTH — Lake Dallas was three outs away from gaining a share of first place in District 5-4A.
The Falcons couldn’t hold on to a one-run lead and lost 8-4 to Wichita Falls on Friday at Falcon Field.
“It’s just a young team,” Lake Dallas coach John Tompkins said. “When you start bleeding, you’ve gotta put a Band-Aid on it and cover it up. We weren’t able to stop it. The game was a lot closer than the score.”
The loss to Wichita Falls comes on the heels of Lake Dallas’ one-run loss to Guyer on Tuesday. With Guyer’s loss to Wichita Falls Rider on Friday, the Coyotes (11-6, 5-0 district) took sole possession of first place in 5-4A.
Entering the seventh inning, the Falcons (10-11, 3-2) seemed primed to force a logjam atop the standings.
Lake Dallas sophomore Ben Williamson came up with a key RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, the last of three straight hits to put the Falcons up 4-3.
Senior Jackson Owens, who scored in the sixth, stepped back to the mound for his third inning of relief work. And like it had all night, the final three batters in Wichita Falls’ lineup caused the Falcons the most trouble in the seventh.
The Coyotes strung together four straight hits off of Owens to tie the game and force Tompkins to send Williamson to the mound. Wichita Falls tacked on three more runs and caused another pitching change. Freshman Alex Peppard picked up the final out to get the Falcons out of the inning.
Owens (1-1) entered in the fifth to relive junior starter Tristan Tom. Owens took over with two runners on base and no outs, and he almost escaped the inning unscathed. But Wichita Falls’ Hayden Russell laced a two-out, two-strike double to left to tie the game at 3.
Owens went 2-for-4 with a massive two-run home run in the first off of Zack Murphy (4-0), who is headed to Midland College.
But on the mound, Owens said, he didn’t have his usual velocity.
“It’s just a tough loss,” Owens said. “Something didn’t feel right when I was on the mound. I’m used to shutting everyone down when I’m pitching.”
The bottom three Coyotes were a combined 5-for-9, something Tompkins said ultimately hurt his team. He said he didn’t want Owens to pick up a nine-out save but was forced to go to the Florida State signee in the fifth.
After a rough week and back-to-back losses, Owens was the last to leave the dugout before the junior varsity game began. While Tompkins said the playoff race likely will go down to the last week, Owens said next week’s games against Fort Worth Brewer and Azle will have a big impact on Lake Dallas’ chances.
“We need to win both games to be in a good spot,” Owens said. “Anything less would put us in too tight of a situation.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter @Ben_Baby.
Wichita Falls 8, Lake Dallas 4
WP — Zack Murphy (4-0). LP — Jackson Owens (1-1). 2B — WF: Hayden Russell. LD: John Schuster. HR — LD: Jackson Owens. Records — Wichita Falls (11-6, 5-0), Lake Dallas (10-11, 3-2).