By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
FORT GIBSON – Sallisaw pitcher Derek Harris uncorked a bases-loaded wild pitch to score Fort Gibson’s Zach Drain and the Tigers pulled out an 8-7 victory in 11 innings at Carr-O’Dell Tiger Park on Tuesday night.
Drain dashed all the way to second base on a throwing error by the Sallisaw shortstop. He stole third. Winning pitcher Brayden Williams walked and stole second. Bubba Stone then singled to load the bases.
Harris threw a pitch into the dirt and the Tigers had the walk-off run, ending a game that lasted nearly four hours, ending at 11:15 p.m.
“It meant a lot for us to win this game,” FGHS coach Randy Smith said. “I told the players we better win if we’re going to stay out this late.”
The Tigers improved to 9-14 to snap a two-game losing streak. Sallisaw dropped to 6-12.
Fort Gibson had Tristan Johnson at third base and Levi White at second in the 10th, but Colton Dorris grounded out to shortstop to end the inning and send it to the 11th.
The Tigers had a chance to pull the game out in the ninth when Josh Nunez reached third on Williams’ two-out single. But Stone grounded out to end the inning and the game went to the 10th. The Tigers rallied to tie the game at 7-7 with a two-run eighth inning as third baseman Tristan Johnson doubled home Stone and Johnson raced home on Markie Carman’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Poor fielding in the top of the eighth hurt Fort Gibson as it had four field errors in the inning and the Black Diamonds took advantage as Dylan Thurber and Theron Merrill scored give Sallisaw a 7-5 lead. Two of the errors were fielding mistakes by Stone at shortstop and the others were throwing errors by Johnson and relief pitcher Tyler Stach.
Fort Gibson fought back to tie the game at 5-5 in the sixth when Boo Seward came home on a passed ball. Earlier in the inning, Johnson scored on a fielding error at third base. Johnson singled, took second on Seward’s single and stole third base before scoring.
The Black Diamonds padded their lead to 5-3 in the sixth when Jason Alzate slapped a two-run single to score Harris. Harris singled, stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball before coming home.
Before that sixth inning, Sallisaw center fielder Grant Harrison had snuffed out two Fort Gibson attempts to rally.
In the fourth, he caught a fly ball and threw out Carman trying to take second base for a double play. Carman had singled home Johnson to cut the Tigers’ deficit to 4-3 and was then thrown out in trying to advance.
The Tigers scored their other run in the inning when Stach’s fly out scored Seward to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Harrison snuffed another Tiger attempt to rally in the bottom of the third. Stone lashed a single to right center field, but was thrown out by Harrison at second base as Stone tried to stretch the hit into a double.
Sallisaw grabbed a 4-1 lead with a three-run third. Cooper Carr’s two-run single to score Harris and Harrison was the big hit of the inning.
The Tigers tied the game at 1-1 in the first when Stone grounded out to the shortstop to score Drain.