CORINTH — The final batter Lake Dallas sophomore pitcher Grant Landry faced went like most of the others he saw on Tuesday night.
Landry opened with two strikes. When it was over, Trophy Club Nelson’s final batter went back to the visiting dugout after a swing and a miss.
Landry retired the final 13 batters he faced and helped the Falcons pick up a 4-1 victory over the Bobcats in their District 5-4A home opener. Landry pitched all seven innings and did not allow an earned run in the contest.
The sophomore closed four of his final five innings with a strikeout. After throwing five scoreless innings in last week’s district opener against Denton, Landry once again justified his position in Lake Dallas’ pitching rotation.
“He’s been our best strike-thrower, and that’s why he got the ball last Tuesday and this Tuesday,” Lake Dallas head coach John Tompkins said. “He gives you a chance to win because he throws strikes and he changes speeds.”
Lake Dallas senior shortstop Jackson Owens, who has signed with Florida State, went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and a run scored. Lake Dallas designated hitter Danny Drozd also went 2-for-3 in the win for the Falcons (9-9, 2-0 district).
Nelson’s only run was unearned after Matt Goguen reached on an error by Lake Dallas second baseman Alex Peppard in the top of the first inning.
Lake Dallas center fielder Daniel Rivera was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom half of the first and he scored when Owens doubled to right-center field. Owens scored on a passed ball later in the inning, giving Lake Dallas a 2-1 lead and all the run support Landry needed.
As the game progressed, the Bobcats (7-8, 1-1 district) couldn’t find success at the plate. Nelson head coach Mike Killian said he knew Landry excelled at throwing strikes. That resulted in Nelson’s aggressive approach at the plate.
“We’ve scouted them, and we thought we had a pretty good chance to get a pitch in the count early, and if we saw it, we were going to swing at it,” Killian said. “We put some good swings on balls, and they made all the plays they were supposed to make.”
Landry only needed 21 pitches to get through the final three innings. He allowed two hits and struck out five batters in the complete-game victory. The sophomore said he wanted to throw first-pitch strikes on Tuesday night and let his defense do the rest.
“I just felt good throwing strikes, pounding the strike zone and trusting my defense,” Landry said.
Earlier in the season, Tompkins was not sure who would emerge as the ace of his pitching staff. Through two district games, Tompkins has put the ball in Landry’s hands, and each time he has delivered.
“He loves baseball as much as anybody or more than anybody I’ve ever coached,” Tompkins said. “It’s easy to run him out there and know what you’re going to get from him. He’s going to be a good one. He’s going to be a good one before he gets done.”
Lake Dallas 4, Trophy Club Nelson 1
WP — Grant Landry (3-0). LP — Alex Johnston (2-1). 2B — LD: Jackson Owens, Alex Peppard, Will Lipsey. Records — Trophy Club Nelson 7-8, 1-1; Lake Dallas 9-9, 2-0.