For the second time in District 2-6A play, missed opportunities doomed the Permian Panthers in a home loss to Wolfforth Frenship.
The Tigers scored in every inning and Permian missed a chance to break the game open early Friday in falling 9-6 at windblown McCanlies Field.
Wolfforth Frenship hit three home runs, all to right or right-center as the wind blew out at a steady 35 miles an hour. But, Permian coach Tate Criswell said, the real damage was caused by the number of groundballs that got through for hits.
“I thought our infield played below their capability today,” Criswell said. “Frenship did a good job of tacking on a run or two an inning, but we could have gotten off the field numerous times without any runs given up.
“That’s on me. I either put the wrong guys at the wrong spots or I’m not coaching them well enough.”
Despite the loss, Permian (17-11 overall, 4-6 district) remained in sole possession of fourth place in the district standings as Friday’s other 2-6A games — Amarillo Tascosa at Odessa High and Midland Lee at Midland High — were postponed because of the conditions.
Wolfforth Frenship (23-4, 8-2) increased its lead in the district standings to 2.5 games over Midland Lee and Odessa High. Tigers coach Chad Reynolds said the big thing for his team, which is ranked fourth in the state in Class 6A by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, was to get another road victory. The Tigers opened the district schedule with a 6-2 victory over Permian on March 13.
“Any time you go on the road and get a win in this district, you’ve got to feel good about it,” Reynolds said. “That’s what we did today against a good Permian team in some tough elements. We got out of here with a win and feel good.”
It took some time, though, for the Tigers to get there. Starting pitcher Brock Erculiani went just 3.1 innings, reaching his pitch limit after throwing 57 pitches in a rough first inning. Evan Johnson (3-2) finished up to get the win, giving up one earned run on three hits.
Wolfforth Frenship’s Dakota Champagne, who went 3 for 5, and Jake Arthus, who was 2 for 3, hit solo home runs in the first and second innings, respectively. In between, Permian scored three runs in the bottom of the first as Erculiani walked six of the first seven batters. Taylor Sullivan walked with the bases loaded, Caden Bedrick scored on a wild pitch and Noey Brito was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But, Criswell said, the lead could have been much larger. The Panthers ran into an out on the bases, costing a run and didn’t put a ball in play until Isaiah Flores grounded into a force out to end the inning.
“One big hit in that first inning, when we chipped away at walking, may have blown it open,” he said. “We just didn’t get that.”
Aleck Villa went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI and Sullivan drove in two runs, but Permian finished with just four hits.
“I think our approach in the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings wasn’t as good as it was in the first and seventh,” Criswell said.
Permian starter Seth Higdon (2-5) was charged with eight earned runs on 11 hits over 6.1 innings. He walked three and struck out eight, giving him 29 strikeouts in his last three starts. Christian LaChance struck out two of the three batters he faced in relief.
The Tigers took the lead for good in the third as Justyce Bocanegra and Mason Weathers drove in runs, added an unearned run in the fifth and went up 7-3 on RBI doubles from Austin Phillips in the fifth and Weathers in the sixth.
Villa led off the bottom of the sixth with his double and scored on Christian Tschauner’s two-out single, but Johnson connected for a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. The Panthers cut the deficit to three runs in the bottom of the seventh on Sullivan’s run-scoring groundout and Villa’s RBI single before Johnson closed it out.
Frenship…….. 112 111 2 — 9 12 2
Permian……… 300 001 2 — 6 4 2
Brock Erculiani, Evan Johnson (4) and Peyten Kennard. Seth Higdon, Christian LaChance (7) and Taylor Sullivan. W — Johnson (3-2). L — Higdon (2-5). 2B — Frenship: Mason Weathers, Austin Phillips; Permian: Aleck Villa. HR — Frenship: Dakota Champagne (1), Jake Arthus (1), Johnson (1).
Records — Wolfforth Frenship 23-4 overall, 8-2 District 2-6A; Permian 17-11, 4-6.
District 2-6A Standings
Team W L W L
Wolfforth Frenship………… 23 4 8 2
Odessa High………………. 19 6 5 4
Midland Lee……………….. 14 10 5 4
Permian……………………… 17 11 4 6
Midland High………………. 16 12 3 6
Amarillo Tascosa………… 10 16 3 6
Wolfforth Frenship 9, Permian 6
Amarillo Tascosa at Odessa High, ppd., wind
Midland Lee at Midland High, ppd., wind
Amarillo Tascosa at Odessa High (DH), 11 a.m.
Midland Lee at Midland High, noon
Permian at Wolfforth Frenship, 1 p.m.
Midland High at Midland Lee, 4 p.m.