By Jimmy Stinson
It was a pitcher’s duel that came down to some timely hitting and a lack of execution for the Muskogee Roughers as they dropped an 8-4 decision in 11 innings to the Bishop Kelley Comets on Friday at Rougher Park.
Muskogee’s Ethan Barton and Kelley’s Josh Hassell battled each other for five innings before Hassell was pulled in favor of Max Simpson. Simpson continued the fight, while Barton tossed nine innings before giving way to Tyler Bowden to start the 10th inning.
Barton finished the night giving up four runs on eight hits but not figuring into the decision.
“That’s frustrating, this was my last game on this field,” said Barton after the game. “All of my pitches were working tonight, I really wanted this game.”
In the first two innings, Barton retired the Comets (8-16) in order and collected the first two of his 10 strikeouts. The third inning was a little different. After recording two more strikeouts, Bishop Kelley’s catcher Riley Smith singled, followed by a walk to Cory Briglot. Shortstop Charlie Wrona connected on a pitch that drove in Smith for the first run of the game.
The Roughers (12-19) answered in the bottom of the third when centerfielder Garrett Brown was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Bowden. An attempted pickoff of Bowden was unsuccessful and Brown scored on the wild throw.
The Comets plated three runs in the fifth, two of which came on a long drive by Tony Horn which scored Simpson and Smith, making the score 4-1.
Muskogee cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth when Horn scored on Dakota Morse’s RBI single, the first of his two hits in the game.
The game looked to belong to the Comets until the bottom of the seventh inning. Simpson recorded two quick outs before Morse singled, Brown walked and Bowden reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Roughers first baseman Harris Jones and Barton each drew walks with the bases loaded, the latter scoring Brown with the third run of the inning, tying the score at 4-4.
“We had multiple opportunities there late to win it but we didn’t,” said Muskogee coach Jeremy Griffin. “We played good defense throughout but offensively, we didn’t get it done. Ethan did extremely well, he did everything we asked him to do.”
The top of the 11th inning spelled disaster for the Roughers as the Comet’s sent seven batters to the plate and collected four runs.
Bowden was charged with the loss for Muskogee in relief, going 1 1/3 innings allowing three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two. At the plate, Morse was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI while Brown was 0-for-3 but had two walks and scored two runs.
Muskogee finishes district play at noon today with a noon doubleheader at Tulsa Edison.