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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Bronchos win twice to open Tournament of Champions - Odessa American: Baseball

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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Bronchos win twice to open Tournament of Champions

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Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020 9:42 pm

The Odessa High baseball team got to play its first home game of the season earlier than previously scheduled.

The Bronchos made the most of that early chance thanks in large part to a seven-run sixth inning and pulled away for a 10-1 victory against Lubbock High on Thursday at Pressly Field in the opening game of the Tournament of Champions.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Christensen Stadium in Midland but was moved due to wet field conditions.

Zach Attaway led the way offensively for Odessa High (7-0 overall), finishing 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs. Two of those hits stayed in the infield, on a groundball in the third and a bunt in the fourth.

“I felt like we were able to get more confidence as the game went on,” Attaway said. “We started off slow but we’re just trying to get on top of the ball and drive it the other way. We were able to find our rhythm towards the end of the game.”

It took some time for both teams to get going, but the Bronchos got on the board in the second inning on a solo home run from Pilar Ramirez. Ramirez drove in Odessa High’s second run in the fourth with an RBI single that followed a leadoff double by Hervey Nieto.

Lubbock High (1-5-1) got its only run of the game on a two-out RBI single by Caleb McDonald in the third. The Westerners were held in check by Odessa High starting pitcher Isaac Rodriguez, who allowed one run on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

“I was able to throw a lot of strikes early and let the defense work,” Rodriguez said. “I just didn’t want to back down and tried to work quickly.”

Rodriguez got some help defensively in the fifth inning when third baseman Alex Cadena made a diving stop to get McDonald in time to close the frame.

The Bronchos, in turn, got an insurance run from Attaway when he scored on a passed ball.

Odessa High broke open the game in the sixth when 10 straight Bronchos reached base safely before recording an out.

Diego Cervantes got the burst started with an RBI single, which was followed by a two-run triple by Gabriel Avila. Attaway doubled in two runs two batters later and Odessa High scored its last two runs via a bases-loaded walk and an RBI single by Cadena.

It was a good way to end the game, but head coach Josh Hulin hopes to see his team do more moving forward this weekend. The Bronchos were scheduled to play El Paso Franklin at 4:15 p.m. back at Pressly Field.

“I really want to see this team face some adversity and have to overcome and fight through it,” Hulin said. “We haven’t seen much of it so far this year and I’ll look forward to that challenge because there’s still a question mark about what kind of team we’re going to be.”

The Bronchos answered the challenge in the second game played as Odessa High beat El Paso Franklin 5-2 in the afternoon game at Pressly Field.

Ramirez continued his solid day by driving in two more runs against the Cougars while Nieto added an RBI triple in the bottom of the third inning to give the Bronchos a 3-0 lead.

Franklin scored runs in both the fourth and fifth inning to cut into the lead but a two-run single by Jesse Cervantes gave Odessa High the cushion it needed to secure the victory.

The Bronchos also got solid pitching from Angel Rios, who gave up two runs on three hits, four walks and four strikeouts.

Odessa High continues tournament play Friday with a single game at 10 a.m. against Lubbock-Cooper at Zachery Field in Midland.

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