It doesn’t matter if it’s a rout or it stays close, the Randall Raiders ended the first half of District 4-4A play Monday afternoon by far and away standing above everybody else.
Randall continued to live up to the No. 3 ranking in the state and the Raiders showed they didn’t need to dominate an opponent to make a point. They got another stellar pitching performance from ace Duncan Bowles and held on to beat Pampa 5-2 at Raider Field.
The win improved Randall’s record to 21-3 and 7-0 in district, as the Raiders finished the first half of 4-4A with a two-game lead. Of those seven wins, four have come via the 10-run mercy rule and the other two were in extra innings before beating Pampa (9-11, 4-3), although the Harvesters ended a string of three straight shutouts by the Raiders.
Randall coach Cory Hamilton thinks there’s a common thread between all the victories, and it starts on the mound.
“I thought Duncan threw really, really well,” Hamilton said. “If he throws that well he has a chance to win every game he pitches in. It was still a hitters’ day. We had batting practice before the game and a lot of balls left the field.
“I think we did more hitting during batting practice than we did during the game.”
That’s a reference to the way the winds blow at Randall, which can help the hitters or pitchers depending on the day. Whatever the case, they didn’t seem to hurt Bowles.
It was another dominant performance by the senior right-hander who threw a complete game, giving up only four hits while striking out 11. The only glitch came in the seventh when Bowles issued three walks (the only ones he gave up all game), but he got potential tying run Michael Campos to ground to second to end the game.
“I just tried to go out there and manufacture a good start, go out and get the ball to the guys on my defense and let them work,” said Bowles, who gave up only one earned run. “I don’t want them to fall asleep. If you get the first two or three pitches in for strikes I think it will end pretty well.”
Randall got the upper hand by manufacturing two runs off one hit in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Payton Bush drew a walk and eventually scored on Hagen Shedd’s single, then Shedd stole second and third before scoring on Brooks Barton’s wild pitch to make it 2-0.
Pampa scored in the top of the third when a two-out single by Campos drove home a run to cut it to 2-1.
The Harvesters looked like they had a decent chance to hand the Raiders their first district loss as Barton retired the first two Randall hitters to start the bottom of the fourth. But Pampa right fielder Boston Botello misplayed Dylan Ray’s fly ball into the wind, allowing Ray to go to second.
Randall then took advantage of the win blowing out to left field. O.J. Beltran tripled home Ray, then Bush hit a fly ball which flew over the left field fence for a two-run home run and a 5-1 lead which got Barton pulled from the game. It was also an appropriate time for Bush, in his third year on the varsity, to hit his first career homer.
“I would say that it’s wind-blown, but I don’t care, it’s a home run,” Bush said. “I got to jog the bases. Being in the weight room for three years really paid off. I felt I hit it good but I didn’t know it was going to go out.”
Randall has hard gone through the season as an unknown quantity able to sneak up on anyone. That’s made what the Raiders have done in the first half of district that much more impressive.
“I still think everything starts and ends on the mound,” Hamilton said. “I think we gave up nine runs in the first half of district and scored a lot. I think if we can go through the second half and minimize the other team’s runs we’ll be in every single ball game.
West Plains rips Dumas
After giving up a run in the top of the first, West Plains was in control the rest of the way, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first and rolling to a combined 13 runs in the third and fourth innings to rout Dumas 20-1 in five innings.
Dumas took a 1-0 lead but was the only highlight for the Demons. West Plains took control with six runs in the bottom of the inning and attained the run-rule margin with seven in the third.
Garrett Hamilton led the Wolves (14-8, 4-3) with three hits and six RBIs. Bryton Bertrand had two hits and drove in four runs and Ethan Bentley had three hits and drove in two runs.
Dumas fell to 5-16 and 2-5
Canyon routs Perryton
Canyon wasted little time making a statement to close the first half of district play, as the Eagles scored 12 runs in the bottom of the first en route to crushing Perryton 13-2 in a five-inning run-rule win.
The Eagles (15-6, 5-2) stayed in second place in the district with the win.
Perryton (8-12, 1-6) scored two unearned runs in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. But it was all Canyon after that, as the Eagles took control with a dozen runs in the bottom of the inning against three Perryton pitchers.
Cutter Livermore had a huge day at the plate for the Eagles, going 3-for-3 with six RBIs. Zabien Urteaga and Hunter Wilson both drove in two runs for Canyon.
Christian McGuire and Bo Boehning each gave up only one hit on the mound in the win.
Randall 5, Pampa 2
Canyon 13, Perryton 2, 5 innings
West Plains 20, Dumas 1, 5 innings
Hereford 7, Borger 6
Bushland obliterates Tulia
The Bushland Falcons played their first “home” game in district play, but the result was the same as their road games.
Playing at Amarillo High’s Sandie Field, as the Bushland’s campus home field is being reconstructed, the Falcons jumped on Tulia for 15 runs in the first inning and rolled to a 26-0 five-inning victory.
Bushland (16-3, 3-0) had only six hits in that first inning against three Tulia pitchers but made them all count. The biggest one was a grand slam by Max Rodriguez which gave the Falcons their run-rule margin.
Dawson Jaco gave up just one hit on the mound for Bushland, as Tulia fell to 5-13 and 0-3.
H.S. Baseball upcoming schedule
Palo Duro at Amarillo High, 5 p.m.
Caprock at Tascosa, 5 p.m.
Amarillo High at Palo Duro, 5 p.m.
Tascosa at Caprock, 5 p.m.
Randall at Dumas, 5 p.m.
Perryton at Borger, 5 p.m.
Hereford at Pampa, 1 p.m.
West Plains at Canyon, 1 p.m.
Friona at River Road, 4:30 p.m.
Dimmitt at Dalhart, 4:30 p.m.
River Road at Dalhart, Noon
Tulia at Friona, Noon
Dimmitt at Bushland, 4:30 p.m., at Hodgetown