After not having pitched in nearly a month, Colton Wheeler had done an admirable job holding the defending district champions in check.

After not having pitched in nearly a month, Colton Wheeler had done an admirable job holding the defending district champions in check.

So when he handed over the ball with two outs in the fifth, he had no idea that he’d end up going back on the mound in the same inning.

Wheeler was part of the first and fourth pitching changes by Denison head coach Charles Bollinger as the Yellow Jackets saw McKinney North pull away for a 17-4 victory in District 13-4A action on Friday night.

In between Wheeler’s appearances, Braeden Wright, Will Menta and Devon Blanton allowed eight straight Bulldogs to reach, forcing Bollinger to return to the junior right-hander — who promptly got the first batter he faced to end the inning.

With a chance to complete a perfect week and stay in the hunt as the first half of district play closed, Denison (8-15, 1-6) couldn’t find the plate as five different Jackets combined to walk 13 batters. Most of that came during a 34-minute top of the fifth inning that saw McKinney North (13-4, 5-2) turn a 3-1 lead into an 8-1 advantage with just three hits.

Travis Scalf lined a home run to left with two outs in the inning and Wheeler went to a 2-0 count against his counterpart, Luke Bay. Wright came on two finish the at-bat, which was a walk, and then he walked Chandler George and Ty Sawka to load the bases.

Menta then allowed an RBI single to left by Montana Sadler and Michael Saul blooped a two-run single to left for a 6-1 lead. Preston Speers was hit by a pitch to load the bases again and Blanton came on in relief. Sadler scored on a wild pitch and then two more walks, the last by Gabe Constantine to force in a run, led to Wheeler shifting back to pitching after taking over at third base.

Denison scored in the bottom of the fifth when Blanton reached on a dropped third strike and scored on a throwing error. The Jackets got two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Wade Walters came around on a single and error and then Clay Stubblefield had an RBI single to center.

That came after the Bulldogs scored three times in the top of the sixth, the last two on a double by Speers.

North finished the contest with a six-run seventh inning. The Bulldogs loaded the bases and Tate Frodsham scored on a wild pitch before Sadler’s infield RBI single, a two-run double by Speers and a two-run error on a dropped fly ball in left.

The Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning Blanton bounced back to Bay and the throw to first went down the line, allowing Blanton to scamper over to third. A two-out, 0-2 pitch — a third-straight curve — to Wheeler went to the backstop and Blanton scored.

McKinney North loaded the bases in the second but Wheeler worked out of the jam before the Bulldogs tied the game without a hit in the third. Constantine walked with two outs and ended up going to third on a wild pitch that bounced towards to the third-base bag. Wheeler’s throw from foul territory went into left field to knot the score at one.

Sadler pushed a bunt towards first and that allowed Sawka to give McKinney North a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth.

Denison missed a chance to pull even in the bottom of the inning when it loaded the bases with two outs on singles by Joseph Hendricks and Menta and Will Stubblefield getting hit by a pitch.

That changed the complexion of the ensuing inning and turned the game completely in the Bulldogs’ favor against a parade of pitchers, including the double duty by Wheeler.