The Texas State signee took that tear to a different level as the senior center fielder supplied three home runs against Permian.
However, the Panthers limited the damage around Wuthrich en route to a 6-5 victory over the Rebels at McCanlies Field.
“That was unbelievable,” Permian head coach Jimmy Webster said about Wuthrich’s performance. “That was impressive. Even though I’m in the other dugout, you tip your hat, because that was impressive.
“We’ve lost probably seven or eight games not exactly like that, but in similar fashion to this where you are feeling pretty good late in a game and that’s the one thing about baseball: the other team always gets their chance. I was proud of our kids to be able to withstand a situation that we haven’t in the past.”
Midland Lee head coach Brian Roper, who was named head coach of the Rebels in 2012 and spent 15 years coaching at Blinn College and Howard College, said the run Wuthrich is currently on has been great to watch.
In the last four games, Wuthrich has gone 15 for 18 — which includes six home runs, three doubles and one triple — with 17 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
“John Wuthrich is in about a two-week stretch here that he’s hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen anybody hit the ball,” Roper said. “He’s seeing the ball well and he’s crushing it.”
Permian junior right-handed pitcher Peyton Hutson allowed two of Wuthrich’s three home runs — both were solo shots. Hutson pitched six innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits and struck out five. The junior buckled down with runners on base and struck out the final batter in the fourth and fifth innings to eliminate both threats.
Tyson Banks, who started at first base, ate lunch with Hutson on Tuesday and the right-handed starter’s main concern was Wuthrich. The last time Hutson faced the Midland Lee senior, Wuthrich hit a grand slam off of him on March 18.
“Peyton did good,” said Banks, who went 2 for 3 with a solo home run in bottom of the fourth inning. “All he was worried about was (Wuthrich). We talked about it at lunch and he came out here and played hard.”
In the first inning, Wuthrich put the Rebels (9-14 overall, 6-4 District 2-6A) up early with a solo home run on a 2-2 pitch.
Permian (7-17-1, 2-8) answered in bottom of the third inning after Tanner Adams had an RBI sacrifice fly, Hector Arevalo followed with an RBI double to the left field fence and Arevalo scored the final run on the frame after Rhett Bratcher reached first on a dropped third strike.
“I was just trying to do my job,” Arevalo said. “Coach gave me sign and I just tried to execute it.”
Banks extended the Panthers lead to 4-1 with his solo home run that ricocheted off the top of the indoor practice facility in the bottom of the fourth inning. Wuthrich countered with a solo home run in the fifth.
Christian Tschauner helped put the game out of reach on as he drove in the final two runs as Midland Lee shortstop Ty Coleman committed a fielding error. Bratcher and Banks scored on the error to give the Panthers a 6-2 lead.
The Rebels attempted a seventh-inning comeback as they tagged Permian relief pitcher Seth Higdon with two home runs, which resulted in three runs. Higdon allowed two runs on three hits over to complete the seventh inning.
Wyatt Hernandez was tagged with the loss after he went three innings, allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and struck out five. J.J. Melendez gave up two runs in 2 1/3 innings and Wuthrich pitched the final 2/3 innings.
With five games left in the regular season, Webster wanted to scratch across at least one victory this week against the Rebels. Permian will look to finish out the week with a win as the team travels to Midland Lee at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Ernie Johnson Field.
“Thursday was going to come no matter what,” Webster said with a smile. “If we can win a game, then we are going to win a game. If that means (Higdon) can’t throw Thursday, if we can win on Tuesday, then we will get to Thursday on Thursday. Thursday is going to get here and we’ll see what happens then.”
>> Follow Royal McGregor on Twitter at @OASirRoyal