A five-run inning spelled disaster in the District 10-5A opener for the Midlothian Panthers against Mansfield Legacy.
The Broncos scratched five runs in the fourth inning on RBI hits by Connor Binkley, Jalen Catalon, Bryson Collins and Nate Price in the 7-1 defeat of Midlothian Friday night in Mansfield. Binkley busted the inning open with his two-run double on a 0-2 pitch from Midlothian starting pitcher Blake Bolgiano.
Despite the score, the Broncos outhit the Panthers just six hits to five.
After the game, Midlothian head basketball coach Ray Hydes said he was "a little disappointed” with the Panthers' intensity. He added that he feels the loss is "something that we can bounce back from. This team has been playing really, really well. I don't think we are going to throw up the white flag and surrender."
"I felt like early in the ballgame we had a couple of chances there with runners in scoring position but just didn't cash in," Hydes added. "With one out and runners in scoring position, you have to move the baseball and produce those runs, and we left some people out there. Baseball is a game of failure, and sometimes you come through and do good things. It was not a lack of effort by the kids, but we have to tighten down and do a few things."
Josh Tankersley, Drake Girad, Tyler Spain (2B), Jonathan Little and Luke Woollen each recorded one hit for the Panthers. It was Little who drove in courtesy runner Ryan McCaskill with a sixth-inning triple for the lone Panther run. Midlothian left seven runners on base.
Bolgiano battled through five innings on the bump. He allowed seven runs (five earned) on five hits while striking out three and walking four. Brenden Corbin worked one inning of relief, surrendering one hit, one walk and striking out two.
Nathan Rooney picked up the win for the Broncos with six strikeouts, three walks and four hits allowed over five innings.
The Panthers committed just one error in the field.
"I thought our whole defense played good and I thought Bolgiano threw the ball well. He has to get the ball down in a couple of situations there," Hydes said.
"[...] One of the things you have to do is you have to put it into the past real quick. The kids have to have a short-term memory, and the coaches do, too," the head coach added. "We have to do a better job of putting these kids in a better situation to win. I think what you learn from this game is that you can start out good and be on a roll but this is a humbling game that can turn around on you so fast. You always have to come out, work hard and do the things you need to be successful."
LOOKING BACK AND AHEAD
The Panthers entered Tuesday's game ranked No. 10 in the Texas Association of High School Baseball Coaches 5A poll with a 7-3 record. Midlothian picked up quality wins over Keller Central (5-2), Colleyville Heritage (10-6), Mesquite Poteet (12-6), Mansfield (7-4) and Mansfield Lake Ridge (10-5) during tournament play.
The hot start to the season has Hydes "very proud of them." However, he has warned the Panthers "this is the time when we really have to keep the intensity up because it is district and it counts. I told them that no one is going to remember the things you did early in the season. People will remember this because this is what will catapult you into the playoffs. I think these kids will bounce back and be OK. We have a lot of baseball left to play."
For those unaware, District 10-5A switched to the "series" format to the district schedule this year, meaning the Panthers will play one school each week home and away.
Midlothian completes the season-series against Mansfield Legacy at 7 p.m. Friday in Midlothian.