By Jimmy Stinson
Losers of five of their last six games, there was no quit in Muskogee on Friday at Rougher Park.
A strong pitching effort by Tony Horn and a three-run third inning helped the Roughers win 5-3 in the first game of a doubleheader. In the nightcap, Muskogee jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held on for the sweep of Putnam City, winning 6-4.
Horn pushed his record to 3-3 on the season but was hardly satisfied.
“I felt like I was going to come out and throw a good game and for the most part I did,” Horn said. “I guess I got a little erratic. I didn’t take enough breaths between pitches and started to rush.
Muskogee moved to 18-11, 6-6 in District 6A-4.
“I don’t think (Tony) had his best stuff, but he was tough up there and filled up the strike zone,” said Muskogee coach Jeremy Griffin, his team now 18-11 on the season and 6-6 in District 6A-4.
Through the first three innings, Horn held the Pirates (17-13, 2-10) hitless. Only two batters reached base in that span, and both were hit by pitches.
The Rougher offense started slow but came alive in the third inning when Bryson Bell reached on a two-out single, followed by a single from Cayden Cockle. Dakota Morse picked up two RBIs on a single to set the stage for Harris Jones. Jones ran the count full, fouled off two pitches and on the eighth pitch of the at bat, sent a towering shot over the left field fence for his fifth homer of the season.
Horn faced some adversity in the fourth inning when Putnam City sent seven batters to the plate and cut the lead to 4-2. Leadoff batter Pierce Love was Horn’s second plunk of the night. He stole second and scored on a single by Ricky Adams. Adams later scored on a single by Ryan Wood. Horn recorded a strike out of Crash Davis and induced Kevin Alexander to hit a grounder to third to end the inning.
Horn was able to help his own cause at the plate in the fifth inning on an infield single and moved to second on an errant throw by the Pirates’ third baseman. Horn stole third and scored on a Cockle single to center field.
Taylor Duncan relieved Horn in the sixth inning and went an inning and two thirds giving up one run in the inning and recorded two strike outs. With two outs in the seventh inning, Morse relieved Duncan and got the final out of the game on a called third strike.
Bell and Cockle finished the game going 2-for-3 at the plate with Bell picking up an RBI. Morse and Jones were both 1-for-3 with two RBIs each.
Jones started on the mound for the Roughers in the second game and went the distance. He gave up four runs on six hits. Bell started the scoring in the third inning with a triple, driven in by Cockle. Following a Morse single, he and Cockle scored on Ke’Shawn Ballard’s single.
Muskogee plated three more runs in the fourth inning. Duncan lead off with a single and Horn reached on an error. Bell’s bunt loaded the bases and a hit by Cockle scored two. Bell scored on an error by the Pirate third baseman.
Muskogee returns to action on Monday, hosting Booker T Washington at 5 p.m.