Canyon’s Camron White delivers a pitch against Pampa during a District 4-4A game at Harvesters Field in Pampa on Tuesday afternoon. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
By Lee Passmore
PAMPA— One trend continued in Tuesday afternoon’s showdown between Canyon and Pampa for the District 4-4A lead at Harvester Field.
And it showed why Canyon has been the dominant team in the first half of district play and is now officially the team to beat in 4-4A.
For the fourth straight game to open district, the Eagles invoked the 10-run mercy rule on an opponent, as Pampa became the latest district team to catch Canyon’s fury. The Eagles broke the game open with five runs in the top of the third and beat the Harvesters 14-2 in six innings to claim sole possession of the district lead.
Canyon (11-6, 4-0 in district) and Pampa (10-7, 3-1) entered the game tied for the district lead, both having beaten their first three opponents decisively. But the Eagles made Pampa another victim of an early ending thanks to the run rule.
“I told the guys we came in here and first place was available and we needed to go ahead and try to secure that,” Canyon coach John Doan said. “The guys showed up with the right mindset like they had throughout district play and it was exciting. It was a little bit of a slower start.”
When you’ve dominated the way the Eagles have in district play, slow starts are relative. The first inning was scoreless and the Eagles scored two runs in the top of the second, one of them unearned. After that, there was no doubt Canyon was sitting on top of the district.
Canyon’s Ben Black led off the third with a double to right field off Pampa starter Hunter Nichols as the first four hitters of the inning reached base off Nichols, who was pulled for Tyler Reed. Hunter Wilson had an RBI single off Nichols, who left with the bases loaded and no outs.
Reed did strike out Javin Cash and Mason Alley, but in between balked home a run. He walked Diego Hernandez to bring in another run, and after a walk to Hunter Anderson brought home another run and another scored on a wild pitch, Canyon led 7-0.
Pampa could get no closer than seven runs the rest of the way, and the biggest question was whether or not the Harvesters would join Canyon’s first three district opponents in getting run-ruled.
“We’re a better team than that,” Pampa coach Austin Samulowitz said. “We’ve got to be better on the mound. Nichols started out well then kind of lost it. When you’re walking guys and not throwing a lot of strikes it puts your defense to sleep. It’s kind of a bad combination.”
Canyon, meanwhile, didn’t have any such troubles on the mound. Camron White pitched the first five innings and gave up only an unearned run in the fourth, allowing only three hits and striking out six while not walking any.
White looked more like the staff ace than somebody who was picking up his first win of the season.
“It was a big motivator and I’m glad I had my team behind me,” White said. “It helped a lot and I couldn’t have done it without them. Things were working and the pitches were there. My slider and curveball were good and I was getting a lot of high fastball calls too.”
In the top of the fifth the Eagles went up 10-1 and seemed primed to run-rule the Harvesters, but Jade Ward relieved Reed and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and ensure Pampa would at least make it to the sixth.
But that just delayed the invitable. Hernandez singled up the middle to drive home the run which attained the run-rule margin, and Cutter Livermore’s single to right and an error in the outfield allowed Hernandez to score. Black’s RBI double and Blade Beaty’s RBI single made it 14-1.
Beaty relieved on the mound and gave up an RBI single to Sam Anguiano, but retired the next two batters to make the run-rule win official.
“I feel like (the Harvesters) were ready to play today,” Doan said. “When you’re 3-0 and looking to go into first place, we felt like they were going to come out and give us their best effort, and it was nice to see some guys up and down the lineup get some hits and run the bases well.”
Bushland, River Road roll in 1-3A
Bushland kept a firm grip atop District 1-3A in the most decisive of fashions, as the Falcons won their thrid straight run-rule decision to open district, crushing Friona 30-0 at home in five innings to stay unbeaten in the district lead.
Josh Bass led Bushland (12-2, 3-0) at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a home run and 5 RBIs. Cade Gavina had three hits and drove in two runs. Clayton Fisher had two hits and drove in four runs while Westin Forbes had two hits and drove in two runs.
That offensive explosion almost overshadowed the fact that sophomore Dawson Jaco threw a five-inning no-hitter, striking out seven.
The Falcons have been nothing but dominant in district, beating their three opponents by a combined margin of 68-2.
River Road is the only district team to score on Bushland, losing 16-2 in the district opener. The Wildcats have scored back-to-back lopsided wins since then, as they followed up last Saturday’s 31-0 thrashing of Tulia with a 13-3 win over Dimmitt. River Road is tied for second in the district with Dalhart at 2-1.
Dalhart stayed tied for second by beating Tulia 11-9.
Dumas 2, Borger 0
Hereford 6, Perryton 4
West Texas High 12, Booker 1
Gruver 15, Boys Ranch 4
Sunray 10, Follett 3
Wellington 15, Shamrock 1
Clarendon 8, Memphis 7
Nazareth 14, Claude 5
Kress 12, Valley 0