MONAHANS — By the regional quarterfinal round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs, games should be won with pitching and defense.
In Wylie's 3-1 Game 1 victory against Del Valle on Thursday, the Conquistadors were solid in those areas. Wylie and pitcher Trey Gomez were masterful.
Gomez needed 67 pitches to craft a complete-game two-hitter, facing three batters over the minimum in a 98 minute game that began at 7 p.m. and ended a minute before sundown.
What they said
"We had our defense working, we put some balls in play early, scored some runs early and I threw the game on my defense," Gomez said. "The credit goes to them. I threw, they did all the work, a good team win.
"(Del Valle) were early swingers in the count, they put the ball in play, our defense did the rest. That worked out well."
Gomez had two strikeouts, but was ahead in almost every count — he allowed one walk, the second batter of the game — and his defense was flawless on 19 chances.
"He did a great job, Trey's done a great job for us all year," coach Grant Martin said of his ace. "He lived in the zone for us. He kept them off balance, he located well and we played great defense behind him."
Quoting Del Valle
The Conquistadors got their run on Aiden Gomez's home run in the fifth that broke a string of 12 consecutive Conquistadors retired by Trey Gomez.
"We hit the ball well, we just hit it right at them," Del Valle coach John Beard said. "We have to find a few holes. There aren't a lot of holes out there. That's a good group out there, we'll just keep swinging and hope for the best" Friday.
Running to a win
Wylie had six hits, though the only two that factored into the three runs were infield hits off Del Valle starter Jack Gallegos. Gallegos gave up one hit out of the infield in four innings, but Wylie picked its spots to run perfectly and that led to all three runs.
After a walk and an infield hit in the third put runners on first and second with one out, the Bulldogs executed a double steal. That was the play of the inning, as Garrett Graham's sharp grounder to shortstop went for an RBI fielder's choice instead of an inning-ending double play. Tye Briscoe followed with a single to deep short that made it 2-0.
Wylie added its final run in the fourth when Reese Borho, who reached on a walk, aggressively went to third on K.J. Long's sacrifice bunt and scored on a throwing error. That was the only error of the game.
"With them having a left-handed pitcher (Gallegos), that takes away a little of your approach there," Martin said. "We got good jumps, we did a good job of what we needed to do to come out with a win."
Said Beard: "I like some of the things we did, but obviously we made a few mistakes that cost us a run. Timely hitting and good pitching always wins game, hopefully we can get that done" Friday.
That formula pulled Wylie within a game of a regional semifinal berth and left Del Valle looking to answer Friday with its season on the line.
The series continues with Game 2 at 11 a.m. at Monahans High School. A potential Game 3 would follow 30 minutes after its conclusion, if necessary.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Wylie, ace Trey Gomez edge Del Valle in crisp Game 1 of regional semis