The Permian Panthers had too many missed opportunities on offense and too many miscues on defense Tuesday in a 6-2 loss to Wolfforth Frenship in the District 2-6A opener for both teams at McCanlies Field.
Frenship’s Brock Erculiani pitched a complete game, holding the Panthers to two unearned runs on two hits. Permian stranded eight base runners, four of them in scoring position, and ran into an out at third base in the first inning.
“I didn’t think we were ready to play and that’s 100 percent my fault,” Permian coach Tate Criswell said.
The Panthers have two more district games this week, hosting Midland High at noon Thursday and Midland Lee at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I think every district game is just as important as any other one,” Criswell said. “To get a lead in the standings is a better spot to be in than fighting from behind.”
No. 10 Frenship (15-2, 1-0) won its second in a row after having a 12-game winning streak snapped Friday during the First Bank Classic.
“Any time you can get a district road win, you feel good about it,” Tigers coach Chad Reynolds said. “Permian’s a good, solid team. I thought our guys came out and played well, swung the bats well.”
Erculiani (4-0) struck out six and walked five, overcoming back-to-back walks to start the second inning.
“He goes out there and throws strikes and gets people out,” Reynolds said. “He walked a few guys, got in a couple of high-stress situations, but he battled through it.
“Our defense let him down once, but he’s got confidence in those guys and throws strikes and puts balls in play. They make plays most of the time and good things happen.”
Permian starter Seth Higdon (1-3) was charged with four runs, two earned, on eight hits over six innings. He struck out five and walked three before reaching the pitch limit.
“I thought he competed well,” Criswell said. “If we make a few more routine plays in the field, he may have been able to finish the game because of pitch count and been stronger at the end of the game when they put up runs.”
Frenship scored a run in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth off Higdon before adding two in the seventh off reliever Isaiah Flores.
“When you can get guys on with two outs and get them in, those are huge,” Reynolds said.
Riley Robinson singled in a run in the third. Caeden Jenkins had an RBI in the fourth and Weathers doubled in a run in the sixth.
Permian’s runs came in the sixth when Christian Tschauner doubled, Daniel Enriquez reached on a strikeout-wild pitch and both scored when Aleck Villa reached on an error. The Tigers responded with Jacob Gutierrez’s sacrifice fly and Dakota Champagne’s RBI single in the seventh.
Criswell said a lack of patience at the plate cost the Panthers (12-6, 0-1) early in the game when they had a chance to take the lead. The best chance was in the second. Enriquez and Manny Guerrero walked and were bunted over, but Erculiani retired the next two batters.
“I thought we swung at pitches in counts that we shouldn’t have,” Criswell said. “Before two strikes, we were trying to do too much and swinging at pitches that may have been strikes, but not strikes we want to swing at in those counts, and hitting weak groundballs or weak fly balls that stay on the infield.
“I don’t think we’ve performed that bad offensively this season. You can’t win many baseball games when you do that.”
Frenship…….. 001 201 2 — 6 10 3
Permian……… 000 002 0 — 2 2 4
Brock Erculiani and Peyten Kennard. Seth Higdon, Isaiah Flores (7), Tyler Ramage (7) and Raylor Sullivan. W — Erculiani (4-0). L — Higdon (1-3). 2B — Frenship: Dakota Champagne, Mason Weathers, Caeden Brown; Permian: Christian Tschauner.
Records — Wolfforth Frenship 15-2, 1-0; Permian 12-6, 0-1.
DISTRICT 2-6A STANDINGS
Team W L W L
Odessa High………………. 15 2 1 0
Wolfforth Frenship………… 15 2 1 0
Midland Lee……………….. 10 6 1 0
Permian……………………… 12 6 0 1
Midland High………………. 13 7 0 1
Amarillo Tascosa………….. 7 10 0 1
Odessa High 4, Amarillo Tascosa 3
Wolfforth Frenship 6, Permian 2
Midland Lee 3, Midland High 1
Midland High at Permian, noon
Amarillo Tascosa at Midland Lee, 4:30 p.m.
Odessa High at Wolfforth Frenship, 6 p.m.