Guyer had a golden opportunity Tuesday night to take possession of first place in District 5-4A with a game remaining, but that chance was squandered in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The next inning saw Wichita Falls seize its chance and defeat Guyer 2-1 in eight innings to claim its first outright district championship in 20 years.
Coyote catcher Koy Daws roped an opposite-field double in the top of the eighth to score a run and closer Pete Thomas got out of a jam to pull two games ahead of Guyer in the standings with one game remaining.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Guyer coach Johnny Kinzy said. “It’s the two best teams in our district playing each other, and it was worth the price of admission. Obviously we would’ve loved to have won the game, but we execute some little things and we do win. If we take that and learn from it, it can help us in the playoffs.”
Guyer (14-11, 9-4 district) finishes off the regular season Friday at Fort Worth Brewer and will be the second seed out of 5-4A. The Wildcats will play Saginaw in the first round of the postseason.
The Wildcats had their chances late in Tuesday’s game to position themselves for the district’s top seed.
In the bottom of the sixth with the Coyotes (16-8, 11-2) nursing a 1-0 lead, Daulton Horton hit a one-out single and pinch runner Lucas Anderson stole second base. With two outs, Brandon Hendricks hit a soft grounder down the third base line and beat the throw to first, while Anderson never stopped running and scored from second on the infield hit.
“You have to take your chances with two outs,” Kinzy said. “Brandon did a great job getting down the line, and Lucas never slowed down. You have to take a chance to get a run.”
While Guyer was able to tie the game in the sixth inning, it couldn’t snatch a victory in the seventh.
With runners on first and second with no outs, Wichita Falls coach Rob Johnson sent in Thomas to relieve Kade Hutchins. No. 9 hitter Tristan Brown missed on two bunt attempts and struck out before a fielder’s choice put runners on first and third with two outs, but Guyer couldn’t scratch a run across.
“There’s been a couple of games where we’ve yet to execute the bunt,” Kinzy said. “We have to be able to do that. We have to move runners and get out of force situations. Not saying we win the game right there, but it gives you better odds.”
Johnson said his closer came through in the most clutch of situations.
“Pete Thomas buckles his neck down and comes through,” Johnson said. “That’s been his role all year in the sixth and seventh inning. Tonight has been a long time coming.”
Guyer junior Douglas Palmer, making his second district start, pitched all eight innings, giving up just one earned run and fanning nine batters. He’s now entrenched himself as Guyer’s No. 2 starter with a win at Lake Dallas and the gutsy outing Tuesday.
“There’s no one that cares more and definitely no one that works harder than him,” Kinzy said. “He’s gotten the opportunity the last couple of weeks, and he’s taken it every time and improved. I couldn’t ask more about the way he competed tonight.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Wichita Falls 2, Guyer 1 (8)
WP — Pete Thomas. LP — Douglas Palmer. 2B — WF: Koy Daws. G: Daulton Horton, Riley Wilhoit. Records — Wichita Falls 15-8, 11-2. Guyer 14-11, 9-4.