That offensive output helped the Wranglers to an 11-1 start.
However, during Friday’s conference doubleheader, Odessa College received a taste of its own medicine as Western Texas College rolled up 14-5 and 19-8 victories at American Legion Park.
“For whatever reason today, we showed up and went through the motions and (Western Texas College) came ready to play,” Odessa College head coach Kurtis Lay said. “They punched us in the mouth from the very first inning and we never made an adjustment and we never did anything different.”
The Wranglers struggled at the plate, on the mound and in the field.
Odessa College mustered 13 runs on 18 total hits, four walks and nine strikeouts.
The eight pitchers for the Wranglers allowed 33 runs, 36 hits, nine walks and five hit by pitches.
Despite no errors recorded, Odessa College had plenty of miscues in the field, especially with fly balls in fair and foul territory.
“It’s humbling,” Odessa College freshman infielder Angel Torres said. “We are ranked No. 2 in the nation and we have to stop thinking too highly of ourselves and so lowly of other teams. We need to compete like we usually do.”
In the opener, the Westerners (17-15 overall, 8-6 WJCAC) tagged Odessa College starter Connor Queen with five runs on five hits in the first inning.
Queen, who suffered the loss, threw 5 2/3 innings, allowed 12 runs (10 earned) and struck out six on 110 pitches. The Wranglers cut their early deficit to 5-4 after Tresten Kennard supplied a two-run double and Torres followed with a two-run home run to left field.
Yet, that was the closest Odessa College (26-6, 11-3) came to taking the lead as the Westerners scored the next nine runs. Western Texas College posted plenty of support for its starting pitcher Dillon Delgadillo — who threw 5 1/3 innings, allowed four runs on seven and struck out four — with 15 hits, which included 12 singles, in the first game.
“It was a good approach from one guy to the next,” Western Texas College head coach Kenneth Jackson said. “The guys bought into the approach and it paid off and we were relentless with it.”
The Westerners continued their solid approach at the plate, but this time they received a surplus of power from Jorge Napoles, Ramiro Sanchez and Luis Diaz. Napoles hit a pair of home runs, which included an inside-the-park slam after the ball ricocheted off the wall and away from the center fielder.
Odessa College held a brief 3-1 advantage after the first inning when Torres hit a three-run home run to right field, but Western Texas College immediately answered with a seven runs in the top of the second. The Westerners blew the doors open with 10 runs in the fourth.
Lay was ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning in the first game after arguing an inning-ending double play. Odessa College assistant coach Logan Parker took on head coaching duties in the second game. The Wranglers plated the final two runs in the contest after Mitch Holding supplied a two-run home run to left field.
“It was a little rough and we didn’t come out to play like we usually do,” said Torres, who went a combined 4 for 7 with two home runs, five RBIs and three runs scored. “We didn’t have that fire that we usually do when we come out to play, but tomorrow is another day and we have to put this behind us.”
Sanchez and Napoles each finished with three hits and four RBIs in the second game. Odessa College starting right-handed pitcher Chandler Casey suffered the loss after he allowed nine runs on 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings. Ricky Aravalo picked up the victory for the Westerners after he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight runs on nine hits.
The Wranglers and Westerners meet for a conference doubleheader beginning at noon today in Snyder. Lay said the team needs to learn from Friday’s doubleheader and move on with the goal of a sweep at the WTC Baseball Complex.
“We have to show up and play,” Lay said. “We had a lot of success up to this point of just showing up, having fun and having a little confidence. Today, we were on our heels from the very first inning. There’s no specific one thing that we need to do. We just have to be prepared to play.”
>> Follow Royal McGregor on Twitter at @OASirRoyal