High School Baseball Amarillo-area roundup


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Amarillo High shortstop Will Flaming makes a throw to first base during a District 3-5A game against Tascosa at Hodgetown on Friday night. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

Sandies end first round of 3-5A unbeaten 

Over a span of less than 24 hours to end the weekend, the Amarillo High Sandies showed exactly how they got to be alone atop District 3-5A in the early stages.

Saturday afternoon at Sandie Field, Amarillo High hosted Plainview in a showdown between two teams who were unbeaten in district play for sole possession of the 3-5A lead after the first round of district games. It lived up to the hype competitively, as the Sandies held off a late rally for an 11-9 victory and stand atop the district at the one-third mark.

Amarillo High (14-8, 4-0 in district) was in that position thanks to what happened Friday night at Hodgetown against crosstown rival Tascosa. The Sandies broke open a pitchers’ duel with a big fourth inning and rolled to a 10-0 victory to set up the matchup with Plainview (10-12, 3-1).

Aside from scoring in double digits in both games, the victories had little in common for the Sandies.

“I think we showed everybody that we have the ability to win different ways,” AHS coach Randon Johnson said. “Last weekend we had two games where we were challenged as well against Caprock and Palo Duro. The ability to win a 10-run game then turn around and have to fight to win it shows the resiliency of this group.”

It was hardly a conventional win over Plainview. Amarillo High won despite getting outhit by a 16-11 margin, with the Bulldogs getting at least two hits per inning in every frame after the first.

That’s also a testament to the tenacity of the AHS pitching staff, as the Sandies left 14 Plainview runners stranded on base. Amarillo High, for the record, left 11 runners.
The Sandies led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth and seemed primed to put away the Bulldogs. Rylan Leathers capped a five-run inning with a three-run home run to left to make it 8-2 and that cushion seemed solid.

Amarillo High starter Clayton Norrell retired the first two batters to start the fifth, then ran into trouble. Five straight Plainview batters then reached against Norrell, including Seth Mayberry on an error which cut it to 8-5 and led to Norrell’s exit, as he was approaching 100 pitches.

Plainview’s Isaiah Medina greeted AHS reliever Creed Dye with an RBI single to cut it to 8-6 before Dye got the final out to get out of the inning. Dye drove home a run with a double in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-6 but gave up four hits before he was pulled in the sixth with the score 9-8 and was eventually relieved by Jimmy Escajeda.

“It took a couple of guys to get to (Escajeda),” Johnson said. “He’s a guy who’s been there for us and he’s in the rotation to catch when Clayton’s on the mound. That was a great job by him catching for six innings then coming in and throwing.”

Escajeda actually relieved Gabe Ortiz, who walked the only two batters he faced to load the bases with two outs. He struck out Medina looking to end the inning.

The Sandies got some insurance in the sixth on infield singles by Garrett Robertson and Noah Markert, who scored respectively on Will Flaming’s sacrifice fly and Escajeda’s groundout to make it 11-8. Escajeda gave up two hits and a sacrifice fly to start the seventh, but retired the final three batters in order to earn the save.

“It means a lot for my team because they all have my back,” Escjeda said. “I couldn’t do it without them. I was surprised but I was a little excited. My adrenaline was up.”

Had Escajeda not gotten the save, he still would have had a game worth remembering. He went 4-for-5 and the plate and drove in two runs and scored three.

Amarillo High’s Max McLemore had an RBI against Tascosa on Friday night. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]
Going back to the previous night against Tascosa, Escajeda had five straight hits and reached base in seven straight plate appearances, as he was twice hit by pitches against the Rebels.

“I just have confidence at the plate,” said Escajeda, who’s become a fixture in the No. 3 spot in the lineup. “I’ve been moved up and down all season. I just put the ball in play.”

That was something neither Amarillo High nor Tascosa (5-14, 2-2) seemed to be able to do for three innings at Hodgetown. Amarillo High’s Payne Williams and Tascosa’s Charlie McKinney both threw three hitless innings to start the game, with Williams being perfect through three.

The Sandies broke through with six runs off McKinney in the fourth, as Max McLemore started the scoring with an RBI bloop single to right and Will Flaming finished it with a bloop two-run double to right. In between, two runs scored on a wild pitches and another on a fielder’s choice.

“It wasn’t a 10-0 game,” Tascosa coach Jason Patrick said. “We competed really well but (Amarillo High) got a couple of breaks there in that fourth inning and it was a blow-up inning which we’ve got to eliminate.”

The story, though, was Williams. All he gave up was a one-out single in the fourth by McKinney which barely reached the outfield grass, the first ball of the night Tascosa hit out of the infield off Williams. All told, the Rebels hit only three balls out of the infield off Williams, who struck out 10.

Saturday afternoon, Caprock got in the district win column by beating Palo Duro 6-3. The Longhorns are now 5-11 and 1-2.

Palo Duro (3-17, 0-4) is still looking for its first district win. The Dons gave Plainview a tough time Friday on the road, but still lost 3-2.

Jeremiah Gutierrez of West Plains drives a ball to the outfield during a game earlier this year at Canyon. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]

District 4-4A

West Plains rolls over Perryton

The West Plains Wolves won their second straight game to move into a tie for third place in the district by thumping Perryton 9-1 on the road.

West Plains (15-5, 2-2) scored two runs in the first to take the lead and never let up in scoring nine unanswered runs to open the game. That was more than enough support for Julyen Aguilera, who threw five innings of one-hit shutout ball, striking out eight.

Bradley Cepeda and Ethan Bentley had two hits each for the Wolves and Johnie Gifford drove in two runs. Perryton fell to 7-14 and 2-2.

Randall blanks Hereford to stay unbeaten atop district

The beat went on for the Randall Raiders in district play, as they shut out Hereford 6-0 on the road Friday afternoon, marking nearly two full years since they last lost a district game.

Left-hander Gio Miranda was stellar on the mound for Randall (10-10, 4-0), going six innings and giving up three hits while striking out 10. He got all the support he needed when the Raiders scored a run in the top of the first.

Randall put the game away with four runs in the fifth. Dylan Ray and Brae Silva both drove in two runs for the Raiders.

Hereford (12-5, 2-2) didn’t help itself on the mound by issuing eight walks. Noah Zamora did have two hits for the Whitefaces.

Canyon routs Pampa, takes sole possession of second

Canyon muscled up at Pampa, rolling to a 15-4 victory to invoke the 10-run mercy rule in six innings and taking sole possession of second place in the district, recovering quickly from a tough loss to Randall.

Winning pitcher Zabian Urteaga and Christian McGuire both had three hits and drove in three runs for the Eagles (14-4-1, 3-1) with McGuire also hitting a home run. Jacob Burris had two hits and drove in four runs.
Pampa fell to 5-10 and 1-3.

In the other 4-4A clash, Borger picked up a win over Dumas 7-2.

District 1-2A

Sunray rolls on 

Sunray continues to roll through District 1-2A getting another lopsided win this time at the hands of Sanford-Fritch by a 10-0 shutout on Friday afternoon.

The Bobcats are a perfect 4-0 in district play and now 8-3 overall. Fritch falls to 4-6 overall and 0-2 in the league.

Luke Grajeda went 2-for-2 for Sunray with an RBI.

In the other two district matchups, Booker downed West Texas High 11-1, and Follett run-ruled Boys Ranch 16-4.

District 2-2A

Wellington opens district in big way

The Wellington Skyrockets opened district in the right way by blasting the Memphis Cyclones 23-5 on Friday afternoon.

Caleb Strickland and Jackson Jones ach hit grand slams. Strickland finished 3-for-4 at the plate adding a double with five total RBIs. Jones was 3-for-4 with the four RBIs. TJ Salinas threw four solid innings allowing an earned run with 10 strikeouts.

Wellington (1-2 overall) is 1-0 in District 2-2A. Memphis is now 0-1 in district.

Clarendon didn’t have any problems on the road with Kress getting a 12-0 shutout on Saturday.

The Broncos improve to 7-1-2 overall on the year. Kress falls to 6-9.

Levi Gates came up big for Clarendon going 3-for-4 with a double and totaled a game-high five RBIs. Harrison Howard worked four innings allowing only one hit without a run while racking up 10 K’s.

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