Holding a No. 3 ranking in the state seems like it would carry a certain status among their nearest rivals, but the Randall Raiders haven’t brought their Canyon ISD rivals to heel in their last two games in District 4-4A play.
That doesn’t mean the Raiders haven’t come out on top, just that their fellow CISD schools have made them have to earn it. And Canyon made sure they worked overtime Tuesday afternoon and night.
In a game taking place at two fields because of the disappearance of daylight after almost three hours, Randall and Canyon engaged in a typically hard-fought game which started at Randall’s Raider Field and ended under the lights at West Texas A&M’s Wilder Park. It couldn’t have been more appropriate that it ended with Randall relief pitcher Logan Tice singling with the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to beat the Eagles 5-4 in one of the most memorable games in the rivalry.
Couple that with a 5-3 eight-inning win over CISD’s newest school West Plains on Saturday, and Randall (17-3, 3-0 in district) has shown some serious mettle in living up to its lofty reputation. Randall coach Cory Hamilton knows it’s something his team will have to show the rest of the season.
“There’s a big misconception,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know how many people tell me now that we’ve dropped to 4A things are going to be so much easier. That’s so untrue. Baseball’s baseball and when you have good teams playing each other it’s not going to be easier and that’s good.”
Randall won 14-of-15 games in rolling to the District 3-5A title last year before having to drop down to Class 4A after the last UIL realignment. The toughest competition the Raiders have had in district play has come out of CISD, and as it turned out, the winner of the game between Randall and Canyon (12-5, 2-1) would hold sole possession of the 3-5A lead.
It looked like the Raiders might be able to cruise after taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning after Payton Bush’s RBI single. But anyone who’s followed this rivalry for anytime knew that wasn’t likely.
Randall had unbeaten Duncan Bowles on the mound three days after Bowles threw a no-hitter and struck out 12 in a district-opening 12-0 win over Dumas. Bowles held the Eagles scoreless for three innings, but they got to him for two runs in the fourth (one unearned) and tied it in the fifth with two outs after Christian McGuire tripled and scored on Cutter Livermore’s single.
In the sixth, Bowles was pulled due to a rising pitch count and relieved by Alex Massey. After Massey hit Zabien Urteaga with a pitch, Ben Black doubled to right center to score Urteaga and give the Eagles their first and only lead of the game, 4-3.
“After about the second inning I thought we played excellent baseball,” Canyon coach John Doan said. “Randall is a heck of an opponent. They deserve that No. 3 ranking. To have a chance against those guys was a great feeling and something we’re going to build on.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Randall’s Mason Gilbert led off with a double off Canyon reliever Jacob Burris and scored on a groundout by Tice to tie it 4-4. Tice was just getting started in his influence on the outcome.
Three days after scoring two innings of scoreless, hitless relief to beat West Plains, Tice was even better against Canyon. The side arming right-hander dominated the Eagles, allowing only one hit with no walks as Canyon didn’t even get a runner to second base during Tice’s outing.
“It’s great just being the guy who can come in and close the door,” Tice said. “Completely changing the momentum is something that I just find fun. I take a lot of pride in it. I’m able to just throw sliders on their front hips and get an advantage that most pitchers aren’t able to do.”
Since Randall is like other high schools in the metro area which don’t have lights, once the game reached extra innings and the teams couldn’t push a runner across after 10 innings, the question of how much daylight would safely remain to continue the game became a question. The umpires stopped the game and decided that if it was to be continued on Tuesday, it would have to be at a venue with lights.
Hamilton, Doan and CISD athletic director Toby Tucker conferred and discovered that Wilder Park would be available to finish the game. After all that hassle, it didn’t take long to end.
With two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Urteaga walked Randall’s Hagen Shedd, then a pair of wild pitches and two intentional walks loaded the bases for Tice. Making sure he was a hero both on the mound and at the plate, Tice singled to right to bring home Shedd and end the marathon game.
“it just adds fuel to the fire and I’m able to go in and show something at the plate,” Tice said.”The way I look at it is we’re a team which is going to go in and grind it all the way out. If you’re going to beat us you’re going to have a pretty hard time doing it.”
West Plains gets first 4-4A win over Hereford
After losing to their established CISD brethren Canyon and Randall by a combined three runs to open district play, the West Plains Wolves got the first district win in school history by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to beat Hereford 5-3.
West Plains (11-7, 1-2) took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth, but Hereford (10-4-2, 2-1) tied it in the bottom of the fifth before the Wolves finally broke through in the seventh.
Ethan Bentley was the hero of the day for West Plains. He drove in two runs and pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief for the victory.
Pampa 9, Borger 1
Dumas 11, Perryton 1
Palo Duro rallies to beat Tascosa, holds on to district lead
In what’s looking to be a seismic shift in fortunes in district play, Palo Duro held on to very early sole possession of the district lead, rallying for two runs in the top of the seventh to win 7-6 at Tascosa and stay undefeated atop the district.
Palo Duro (11-8, 2-0) took an early 3-0 lead after two innings, but Tascosa (9-9, 1-2) scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead, the way it stayed until the seventh.
That’s when Leslie Shaw stepped up big for the Dons. Shaw had two hits and drove in two runs, none bigger than his hit in the seventh which drove home the go-ahead run.
In the district’s other game, Plainview beat Caprock 8-4.