By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
FORT GIBSON — It was too bad Eric Hudson was on a pitch count.
The 6-foot-4 Fort Gibson senior pitched five strong innings before being relieved in the sixth after which things then fell apart for the Tigers in the 3-1 loss to the Spiro Bulldogs at Carr O’Dell-Tiger Park on Tuesday.
Hudson has only been in a baseball uniform for less than two weeks after playing basketball until March 3 when the Tigers lost in the Class 4A Area IV area consolation finals.
“I wanted to pitch because I love the game,” he said. “I haven’t been out here for very long. I felt good, but my arm felt a little tired in about the fifth inning. It was a little sore. I want to get my arm back in shape so I can pitch seven innings.”
Hudson had struck out four batters and left the game with a 1-0 lead.
“He gave us a chance to win as he threw strikes,” Fort Gibson coach Randy Smith said. “He’s going to get stronger as the weather gets warmer.”
For the rest of the Tigers, the soreness got worse in the sixth inning.
Seven batters and three Fort Gibson pitchers later, the Bulldogs, who ended Eufaula’s bid for a fifth straight state tournament berth last May, scored three runs to hand the Tigers their third loss in four games this season.
Relief pitcher Markie Carman (0-1) walked Spiro lead off hitter Jason Hickman and hit Colby Demato with a pitch. The Tigers’ Tyler Stach then came into pitch. After Hunter Wilson reached base on a sacrifice, Josh Woolly walked to load the bases.
Nick Burt then went to pitch for the Tigers. Justin Wasson hit a fly out to center field to score HIckman to tie the game at 1-1. Colton Harper tapped a pitch toward the mound, Burt stumbled and made a throwing error and Demato scored, giving Spiro a 2-1 lead. Colton Gamble singled in Woolly for Spiro’s third run.
Quaylon Griffith was the winning pitcher as the Bulldogs improved to 3-2.
Smith was disappointed after the loss but it wasn’t as bad as the back-to-back run-rule defeats to Miami (10-1) and Oologah (19-3).
“We had a chance to win this one, but we just didn’t hold them,” he said. “I’m proud of how we fought. We’re young out there with just two guys back from last year’s team (that lost in the 4A regional tournament to Hilldale). We’ll get better.”
The Tigers got their run in the first inning as Tristan Johnson’s double scored Bubba Stone from second base. Stone had an infield single to get on base and advanced to second on Zach Drain’s sacrifice bunt.
Fort Gibson returns to the diamond at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Tulsa Edison at the Owasso Tournament.
Spiro will play at the Vian Festival Saturday against Vian at 10:30 a.m. and Sequoyah at 12:30 p.m.