HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Wolfforth Frenship scores late, defeats Permian

Hits and runs were hard to come by in an early pitching duel between the Permian and Wolfforth Frenship baseball teams.

The Panthers attempted to manufacture the tying run in the bottom of the third inning, but Dakota Champagne threw a one-hop strike to home plate to end the threat.

Permian left fielder Hector Arevalo rounded third base after Mitch Riddle hit a single to right field, but Wolfforth Frenship catcher Zariah Pacheco received the throw from Champagne to completed the inning-ending tag.

Wolfforth Frenship used that lift in momentum and broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning for a 7-2 victory over Permian in a District 2-6A contest on Saturday at McCanlies Field.

“They put so much pressure on you that they make you earn everything,” Permian head coach Jimmy Webster said about Wolfforth Frenship. “They don’t make a whole lot of defensive mistakes. They are so good defensively that you have to out execute them or outhit them.

“We weren’t hitting very well early, so when I had the chance I sent (Arevalo) because we hadn’t been hitting the ball well and I was just hoping something would happen. Then they got a couple big hits with men on and blew it open.”

The Panthers (6-15-1 overall, 1-6 District 2-6A) had multiple chances to plate runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

However, Permian left four runners on base, which included two in scoring position. Wolfforth Frenship starting pitcher Conley Green was locked in from the first to the sixth inning. The senior right-handed pitcher allowed one run on four hits and struck out three in six innings.

The Wolfforth Frenship bats backed up their starting pitcher with nine hits. The Tigers (13-10, 5-2) piled on five runs on four hits in the sixth inning, which helped them grab a 6-0 lead.

Brock Erculiani and Dylan Merritt supplied back-to-back doubles that resulted in three runs for the Tigers. Adryane Atkins followed Merritt with an RBI triple and Justyce Bocanegra drove in the final run on an RBI fielder’s choice.

“It was a tight ball game for most of the game,” Wolfforth Frenship head coach Chad Reynolds said. “We scratched across a run early, but there wasn’t much happening either way. Credit to both pitchers for that. Our guys hung in there and got some key hits late in the game and we were able to drive some runs in for us to kind of separate a little bit.”

Permian starting pitcher Peyton Hutson limited the Tigers to one run on three hits through his first five innings of work. The junior right-handed pitcher didn’t have the same fortunes in the sixth inning when he gave up four runs on three hits. Hutson pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on 85 pitches.

Hutson admitted he ran out of gas in the sixth inning and the junior right-handed pitcher was pulled after he allowed the second of back-to-back doubles.

“It’s real tough,” Hutson said. “We just have to play a little harder and have a little confidence in ourselves.”

The Panthers scratched across a run in the bottom of the sixth when Easton Hernandez supplied an RBI single to score Seth Higdon, who reached on a double to left field. Wolfforth Frenship and Permian traded runs in the seventh inning.

The Panthers continue their season by hosting Midland High at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Bulldogs defeated Permian 5-3 in the first meeting of the season on March 16.

“We have to keep working,” Webster said. “We certainly need to continue to make improvements in practice, because obviously there are things that we still need to get better at, but we are making some strides. It’s a play here and a play there. It’s a hit here. It’s a hit there. Those are the things that we call ‘little things’ that all add up to be the game.”

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