The Permian Panthers followed the plan Thursday in opening the Tournament of Champions with a 13-1 victory over El Paso Eastwood at McCanlies Field.
After spotting the Troopers a run in the top of the first inning, Permian answered with seven runs in the bottom half. The Panthers (5-2) strung together eight consecutive two-out hits to take control.
“We gave up one run in the first inning and came out and responded really well,” Permian coach Tate Criswell said. “We’ve talked the past few weeks about, offensively, just being a pack of wolves. They just keep coming and fighting. One of us by ourselves is useless, but all of us together can be lethal.”
Third baseman Noey Brito, who drove in five runs, and pitcher Peyton Hutson, who threw a five-inning complete game, expanded on the wolf pack analogy.
“We were working as a team,” said Brito, who was 2 for 2 with a double and a triple. “We like to call it the wolf pack. There’s no lone wolf. Nobody was being selfish.”
Hutson said the Panthers took advantage of their strength in numbers.
“If there’s one wolf, they’re not going to survive,” he said. “But with 22 of us, we can do anything.”
Permian totaled 11 hits with Christian Tschauner and Tanner Adams both going 2 for 3. Isaiah Flores drove in two runs, while Tschauner, Daniel Enriquez, Isaiah Flores, Manny Guerrero and Taylor Sullivan each had one RBI.
Eastwood (3-2-1) took the early lead on Alex Martinez’s single after Beto Fraire doubled. After that, Hutson did not allow more than one baserunner the rest of the way.
“I was just trying to throw strikes so our infielders could field it,” Hutson said. “It helps a lot when your team scores seven runs in the first inning. I just do my part and they’ll do theirs and we’ll all contribute as a team.”
Hutson struck out seven in his second outing of the season. He allowed a run on five hits and a walk.
“He worked ahead in the count and threw his off-speed pitches for strikes,” Criswell said of the senior right-hander, “and he had a great defense behind him.”
Fraire worked two innings in taking the loss for Eastwood. He was charged with eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits. He finished with one walk and one strikeout.
Adams got things started in the bottom of the first with a two-out single. Two batters later, Flores singled in the tying run and Guerrero worked a bases-loaded walk to put Permian in front to stay. Sullivan’s RBI single and an error pushed the lead to 4-1 before Brito doubled in two runs and scored on a double steal.
In the second inning, Enriquez delivered a sacrifice fly after Caden Bedrick and Adams started the inning with back-to-back singles.
In the third, Permian loaded the bases on two hit batters and a walk before Brito delivered a three-run triple. Tschauner followed with an RBI single to make it 12-1.
In the fourth, Enriquez led off with a walk and pinch runner Zane Murphy stole second and moved to third on a balk. Flores drove in the final run with a grounder to second.
Brito provided his production from the ninth spot in Permian’s batting order, driving in all five men who were on base for his at bats.
“I knew my team needed those runs,” Brito said. “I was just trying to help them out and looking for my pitch to hit.”
Eastwood…………. 100 00 — 1 5 1
Permian…………… 714 1x — 13 11 0
Beto Fraire, Nicolas Amaya (3), Will Gonzalez (4) and Chris Sims. Peyton Hutson and Taylor Sullivan. W — Hutson. L — Fraire. 2B — Eastwood: Fraire; Permian: Noey Brito. 3B — Permian: Brito.
Records — El Paso Eastwood 3-2-1, Permian 5-2.