MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

April 9, 2014

MHS takes what’s given: Roughers capitalize on Tigers’ mistakes for run-rule victory

Fort Gibson’s defense became as messy as the muddy construction surrounding Roughers Park on Tuesday.

What the Tigers didn’t give up, Muskogee took itself, steamrolling the visitors 11-1 in a 4 1/2 inning run-rule romp.

Tristan Johnson’s RBI single in the first gave Fort Gibson a 1-0 lead against Roughers starter Harris Jones (3-2). The Tigers wouldn’t get another run.

The Roughers jumped on Dylan Nuckolls for four runs on three hits in the first inning, including a triple down the right field line by Luke Smith that brought one in.

It got messy in the second. An error, one of three on the night, and two walks meant the end of Nuckolls’ outing. He lasted 1 1/3 innings,  giving up three hits and two walks. With Brayden Williams in to pitch, Jones’ grounder to shortstop  Bubba Stone looked like a potential double-play ball that would have ended the inning but Stone’s throw to second was dropped by Josh Nunez, scoring a run.

Dakota Morse, whose hard line drive out in the first missed being a double play with the throw from Will Rumbley was mishandled by Stone, ripped a bases-loaded double down the line in left. That made it 8-0 and seemed to shake Williams, who after an RBI single by Cody Floyd plunked three Rougher batters before being pulled with one out in the third.

In all, the Tigers would hit four batters. Muskogee finished with seven hits. Morse added a fourth RBI with a sacrifice fly to right in the third.  Austin Jones reached on an error in the fourth that scored Floyd, the last of the hit batsmen.

Fort Gibson coach Randy Smith said his 4A squad “played scared.”

“I was disappointed in my guys. Some didn’t know where the ball was a couple times, or how many outs there were,” he said. “We’re just very inconsistent.

“Last night we didn’t make an error and made two double plays. Tonight, we can’t catch a ball and throw it. Pitchers can’t get everyone out. We’ve got to put things together.”

That’s exactly what Muskogee, 14-6 and a winner of four straight, seems to be doing.

“I thought we had a great approach. Very good offensively, did some good things there, pitched well all day long. And we did a great job executing our bunt game and did a great job on the basepaths getting a lot of extra bases moving up on good reads,” said Roughers coach Jeremy Griffin.

“It’s been our MO, putting pressure on teams and making them handling it and that helped create some mistakes.”

Morse certainly was productive in a 1-for-2 game.

“I’m seeing the ball well and teamwise, everyone seems to be seeing it well. We’re coming together in a lot of ways — bunting, baserunning, executing without failing,” he said. “Our goal has been one run an inning and obviously we got a little more than that tonight.”

Jones went three innings, with Johnson getting the only hit off him. He had one strikeout, that to Colton Dorris, the game’s leadoff batter.

Taylor Duncan worked the fourth inning, giving up the other hit to Justin Cates on a one-out single to center. Bryson Bell came on to finish it with a three-up, three-down fifth, with one strikeout.

The Tigers fell to 8-10. Nuckolls dropped to 2-3.

“We’ve come over here over the years and competed,” Smith said. “There’s five or six juniors and seniors on this team and some who have played as freshmen. We’re just way too inconsistent. Maybe we’ll figure it out come playoff time.”

 Muskogee gets Ponca City on Thursday in the Enid-Stillwater Festival, the first of four games in three days. Fort Gibson is at Cascia Hall on Friday.

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