Heading into the final inning Tuesday night, Denton starting pitcher Roman Arnold took on the mindset of a closer. He put the first six innings behind him and concentrated on the task at hand.
Arnold had only allowed one run and struck out three in six innings, but in the seventh, he ratcheted up his focus and struck out the side to secure the Broncos’ second District 5-4A victory of the season, 6-1 over Fort Worth Brewer at Denton High School.
“Once we got the momentum going and we got the bats going, everything just comes,” Arnold said. “I started shaky and I was trying to get adjusted to the mound. My curveball was working pretty well. It went along with my fastball. My splitter was there when I needed it.”
The Bears (11-15, 3-8 district) jumped on Arnold early, as Dilon Scott’s RBI single drove home Kevin Leis, who was hit by a pitch.
From there, Arnold held the Bears scoreless with the Broncos’ defense providing some crucial inning-ending double plays along the way.
“It took him a couple innings to get loosened up,” Denton head coach Glen Harrison said. “He kind of looked shaky those first couple innings, but he settled down a little bit and got in his groove. He threw strikes and hit his spots. Tonight, what was different about our other starts, we were able to put together some hits. We were able to capitalize on some things which gave him the runs he needed. It was a total team effort tonight.”
Mark Johnson’s second home run of the season evened the game at 1-1 in the second inning, but it was in the fifth inning when the Broncos’ offense really started to roll.
Josh Boring led off the inning with an infield hit. Malik Minter followed with a single to left field which gave Dolan Nicholson the opportunity to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Nicholson’s bunt advanced the runners to second and third base to set up John Collins for the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
With two outs, the Broncos (5-18, 2-9) strung together hit after hit for a total of seven in the inning. Dakota Soward gave the Broncos a 3-1 lead with his RBI single to center field. Arnold followed suit with an RBI single down the first-base line to put Denton up 4-1.
After a Dylan Tekell single to center, Johnson ripped a double to center field to give Denton a 5-1 advantage. As the ninth batter to bat in the inning, Josh Chavez capped off the offensive outburst with an RBI single to left field, putting the Broncos up 6-1.
“Those were the two-out runs that we haven’t had all year,” Arnold said. “It’s just awesome to see all these guys come together and hit together. It was great to see.”
Following a sixth inning where he worked around a hit-by-pitch and a single, Arnold took care of the bottom of the Bears’ lineup in the seventh.
“He got stronger as the game progressed and we told him before he went out to go right at them,” Harrison said. “I think he pitched 67 percent strikes, and anytime you’re up in the 60s or lower 70s, you have a great chance to win.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.
Denton 6, Fort Worth Brewer 1
Fort Worth Brewer
WP — Roman Arnold. LP — Colin Lovato. 2B — D: Mark Johnson. HR — D: Mark Johnson.