The Odessa College baseball team tuned up for this weekend’s WJCAC opening series Wednesday with an 11-10 nonconference victory over rival Midland College at American Legion Field.
The Wranglers (8-10) overcame deficits of 5-0 and 8-6, holding the Chaparrals (7-8) to two runs over the final five innings. Odessa College used a six-run outburst in the third inning and a four-run fifth to complete the comeback.
“The six-spot was big for us,” Odessa College coach Kurtis Lay said. “The biggest thing for us was to get back-to-back hits. We’ve had several guys in and out of the lineup and some of these guys are getting opportunities and they’re going to continue to get opportunities. For them to go out there and compete really well, have success, gave us the opportunity to get back in the game.
“The other side of that coin is you look up there in the fifth and sixth, should have been the seventh, eighth and ninth, we were able to put together some zeroes outside of the inning where we had three bases on balls.”
Every batter in the Odessa College lineup had at least one hit and either scored or drove in a run. Mitch Holding went 3 for 4 with a double and four RBIs to lead the Wranglers’ 14-hit attack. Hunter Avila and Charlie Shipp, a pitcher who played left field, both went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
“Midweek games are always tough,” said Holding, who started at designated hitter before moving to catcher in the ninth. “You always get a lot of pitchers coming out in different innings. We just battled hard and kept the ball in play, kept moving guys over and doing our job.”
Both teams used six pitchers as they lined up their rotations for this weekend’s conference openers. Odessa College starter Matthew Shunk got the most work, going four innings and throwing 87 pitches. He gave up eight runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
“I told Shunk he had 100 pitches,” Lay said. “He got pretty close. It was an opportunity where, just doing the math, I figured we could use our relievers to close this thing out. The good part was those guys were able to get in between the white lines and still get their work in. All of them should be ready to go on Friday.”
John Bridgeman (1-0) got the win for the Wranglers, allowing one hit in his inning of work. Brandon Hatley (0-1) took the loss for Midland College, giving up four runs on five hits in one inning. Odessa College’s Robert Morales pitched the ninth for his first save.
The top three batters in the Chaps’ lineup did most of the damage against Shunk. Riley King started the game with a walk, scored on Ethan Barker’s double and Frainyer Chavez followed with a home run to make it 3-0 three batters in. In the third, King tripled and Barker homered, then Chavez singled in two runs in the fourth.
Barker finished 3 for 4 with two triples and two RBIs, while Chavez was 2 for 4 with four RBIs.
Odessa College strung together seven hits and a walk in the third, getting a two-run single from Holding and a two-run double from Avila. Holding doubled in a run in the fourth and Shipp’s two-run double in the fifth put the Wranglers ahead.
Midland College closed the scoring in the seventh with a pair of bases-loaded walks, but John Vasquez and Morales got the final seven outs to protect a one-run lead.
“I actually like being in those situations,” Morales said, “because it really shows what our team is capable of doing, staying in it together, playing hard as one and finishing to the very end.”
Morales overcame a leadoff walk in the ninth when Holding threw out pinch runner Blake Perdue attempting to steal second. Deylan Moreno, who started at catcher, threw out two would-be base stealers.
Midland……… 302 300 200 — 10 10 0
Odessa………. 006 140 00x — 11 14 2
Chandler Eaton, Jacob Webb (3), Carson Bailey (3), Garrett Egli (4), Brandon Hatley (5), Levi Hon (6), Justin Lewis (7) and Cameron Melcher. Matthew Shunk, John Bridgeman (5), Josef Cihlar (6), J.J. Irvin-Lundquist (7), John Vasquez (7), Robert Morales (9) and Deylan Moreno, Mitch Holding (9). W — Bridgeman (1-0). L — Hatley (0-1). Sv. — Morales (1). 2B — Odessa College: Chance Medina, Holding, Hunter Avila, Morales, Charlie Shipp. 3B — Midland College: Riley King, Ethan Barker 2; Odessa College: Moreno. HR — Midland College: Barker (3), Frainyer Chavez (4).
Records — Midland College 7-8, Odessa College 8-10.