Article:    
HS BASEBALL: MHS rallies late over Frenship to capture district title
5/1/2017 11:23 AM

The Midland High baseball team was doing the right thing at the plate for the first five innings Friday against Wolfforth Frenship. The Bulldogs just needed to stick with the approach and follow through.

Then in the sixth, they heard a message of patience from head coach Barry Russell loud and clear. MHS reeled off seven runs in the inning to rally past the Tigers for an 8-4 victory and clinch the District 2-6A title outright at Zachery Field.

“I’m glad we could come out with the win and that was a huge seven-run inning,” said MHS junior catcher Sam Matchus, who went 3-for-3 with three RBI and also threw out a Tiger runner stealing second. “It was a great feeling, a great win.”

It’s the 14th outright district championship in MHS baseball history, the 17th total (three co-championships) and the first since 2014. The Bulldogs (17-13, 11-4) will take on El Paso El Dorado, the No. 4 seed out of District 1-6A, at a time and location to be determined in the Class 6A bi-district round next week.

Through the first five frames, MHS had collected seven hits off Frenship starter Conley Green, but trailed 4-1 as it stranded six of those runners. Green was cruising through the middle innings when Russell decided it was time to get back to basics.

“They listened, is I guess about the best way to put it,” Russell said. “It wasn’t like it was anything genius we were telling them. (MHS pitching) Coach (Danny) Neighbors and I were both telling them ‘We’re being patient early, getting runners on and all of the sudden we lose our patience because we think we’re going to hit a 19-run home run or something.’ We kept telling them ‘Just be patient, go back to what we were doing’ and everybody took that approach.”

The Bulldogs answered the call with perhaps their best inning of the season, considering the stakes of Friday’s game. The first seven MHS batters reached base -- five of them by a hit. After back-to-back singles by Sam Bertelson and Bulldogs starter Brooks Betcher, designated hitter Tyler Klattenhoff turned the tide of the afternoon with a nine-pitch walk to load the bases.

“That changed the whole deal,” Russell said. “We could have had second and third with one out, or we could have had first and second with one out and he changed it. That got (the MHS players) fired up and then our fans were just unbelievable. They were great.”

The walk set up Matchus, who drove in a pair with a lined single to right center. Jackson Anuszkiewicz followed with a game-tying single to left, before Chris Sims plated the game-winning runs with a two-RBI triple -- his second of the contest at that point -- to left center for a 6-4 MHS lead.

Sims then scored on a wild pitch and Tyler Wade, who walked, came around to score on a sacrifice bunt, a flyout and a balk.

Sims, who finished 2-for-3 with the two triples, two RBI and the run, said his team began to settle down at the plate and stay back.

“We just turned pressure into fun and started relaxing up there and things started happening like we wanted them to,” Sims said. “Everybody is confident, relaxed and we’re just doing what we have to do.”

Added Matchus: “We were finally figuring out what we needed to do and finally started swinging at better pitches. That’s one of the biggest things Coach Russell preaches.”

Senior sidearmed right-hander Ryan Culp earned the win for MHS. With the Bulldogs trailing by three runs, he relieved Betcher with two on and no outs in the fifth. The Austin College signee proceeded to toss three hitless, scoreless innings while striking out two.

Culp said he was ready for the difficult assignment of shutting down a brewing Tigers’ rally when MHS couldn’t afford any more damage.

“I just knew I had to hold them and stay calm, stay collected and just do what I was picked up here to do,” Culp said. “Coach (Russell) told me throughout the season I’m going to come in hot and heavy, and that’s what I did and it paid off.”

Betcher, Bertelson and Anuszkiewicz each had two hits for MHS in the win. Betcher got a no decision after four runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings. He struck out four, walked one but hit four batters.

Kameron Deterding led Frenship (18-13, 10-5) by going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Follow Will on Twitter: @Will_MRT

MIDLAND HIGH 8, WOLFFORTH FRENSHIP 4

Frenship              031         000         0              --4          5              0

MHS      010         007         x              --8          12           1

Conley Green, Bradden Kennard (6) and Zariah Pacheco. Brooks Betcher, Ryan Culp (5) and Sam Matchus. W -- Culp. L -- Green. 2B -- MHS: Tyler Wade, Jackson Anuszkiewicz. 3B -- MHS: Chris Sims 2.

Records: Wolfforth Frenship 18-13, 10-5 in District 2-6A; MHS 17-13, 11-4 in District 2-6A

Next: Wolfforth Frenship vs. El Paso Americas, TBA in Class 6A bi-district; MHS vs. El Paso El Dorado, TBA, in Class 6A bi-district 

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