Frenship defeats Odessa in district play

A pair of Frenship Tigers meet at home play in their defeat of Odessa last week. (Provided by Curry Photography.)

A pair of Frenship Tigers meet at home play in their defeat of Odessa last week.
(Provided by Curry Photography.)

On a brutal night for baseball, Peyton Kennard and the Frenship Tigers dug deep and found a way to win.

The Tigers came back from a 12-5 deficit and pushed across six runs in the sixth inning to escape with a wild 13-12 win On April 4 over the Odessa Bronchos to grab sole possession of the District 2-6A lead.

Frenship, which improved to 6-2 in district play, got the final six outs with untested sophomore Kennard on the mound. Kennard,who had not pitched in organized baseball until this year, struck out three of the six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings to pick up the win.

“It was a back and forth deal, and it just came down to us believing in ourselves at the end,” said Frenship coach Chad Reynolds.

The Bronchos (5-3) scored eight runs on three Frenship pitchers in the top of the fifth inning to take their big lead. Odessa batters had just three hits in the big inning, with Tiger pitchers issuing four walks and the Tiger defense making two huge errors.

“I think our guys had that one inning where they started thinking about the cold, and it got to us. They lost their focus a bit, and they weren’t very tough that inning,” Reynolds said. “But our guys found a way to overcome it and found a way to win the game.”

With temperatures in the 40s and an icy north wind blowing in from left field, Broncho pitcher Josh Armendarez worked through a rough early stretch to help the Bronchos extend their early lead. Armendarez wasn’t dominating in his 105-pitch, 42/3 inning performance, but he escaped bases-loaded jams in the first two innings to keep the Bronchos in the game.

The Tigers got off to a hot start in the first inning when Mason Weathers blasted a two-run home run to left field, straight into the teeth of the wind.

Tiger senior Bradden Kennard got his first start in district play after serving as Frenship’s closer during tournament action and early district games. Kennard had an easy first inning but gave up a pair of infield singles as the Bronchos loaded the bases in the second inning. Odessa designated hitter Tony Carrasco then cleared the bases with a one-out double to put the Bronchos up 4-2.

Trailing 12-5 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers struck back for two quick runs before recording their big inning in the sixth. Brock Erculiani blasted a home run off the right-field scoreboard to pull Frenship within 12-8, and the Tigers then benefitted from five free passes — four batters hit by pitches and a walk — to nibble away at the lead.

Catcher Zariah Pacheco’s sacrifice fly to right field was deep enough to score Weathers from third to give the Tigers their 13-12 lead. Then it was up to Peyton Kennard to close things out.

Kennard started out the seventh inning by issuing a walk to Odessa’s Bo Martinez, but Pacheco gunned Martinez down on a pickoff throw to erase the leadoff walk. Weathers then made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch deep in the hole to rob Julian Jimenez of a hit, and Kennard struck out Shandon Herrera to end the game.

“That was a big situation for a sophomore, and he came in and did a good job for us,” Reynolds said of Peyton Kennard’s late-inning performance. “Now we have to go down to Odessa and find a way to win. We know that’s going to be another tough game, and we’ll find out a little more about ourselves then.”

Odessa 040 080 0 — 12 8 2

Frenship 221 026 x — 13 15 3

Odessa: Armendariz, Salinas (5 2/3), Salinas (5 2/3), Pena (6 2/3) and catcher not reported; Frenship: Bradden Kennard, Aaron Haney (4 2/3), Peyten Kennard (5 1/3) and catcher not reported. W — Peyten Kennard. L — Pena. 2B: Odessa, Carrasco 2, Herrera; Frenship, Landon Everett. HR: Frenship, Brock Erculiani, Mason Weathers.

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