MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

March 12, 2013

Errors haunt Muskogee once again against Stillwater

STILLWATER — Stillwater High was the benefactor of more Muskogee miscues Tuesday at Couch Park.

In the second game of a district doubleheader, with the first being held Monday in Muskogee, the Pioneers took advantage of a pair of Rougher errors in the fourth inning to spark a 9-3 victory to remain unbeaten in district action.

“Both games we never gave ourselves a chance,” Muskogee coach Jeremy Griffin said. “A lot of credit to Stillwater, they played hard and are a great team, but we never gave ourselves a chance. Just way too many mistakes.”

Stillwater used some small ball tactics to scratch across its first run in the second inning. Will Pendleton led off the inning with a single and a stolen base. He was plated on an RBI single by Michael Higgins.

But in the fourth inning, the wheels fell off the Muskogee defense and led to a game-deciding six-run inning for the Pioneers.

Stillwater got its second run when a throw by Muskogee third baseman Harris Jones skipped in front of the first baseman trickled up the right field line that allowed Stillwater’s Taylor Throne, who had led off the inning with a double, to score.

Pendleton, who advanced all the way to third on the error, was plated by the next SHS batter, Kelby Wickline, who grounded hrough the right side of the infield which was pulled in to try to prevent the run.

SHS’s next run came when Nate Joliff blooped a hit that fell between Tyler Bowden and Luke Smith in right field to score Wickline. Stillwater’s starting pitcher Carson Teel kept the six-run fourth alive by lining a 3-2 count over the shortstop to score T.J. Black and Joliff.

The Pioneers (5-2, 4-0) got their sixth run of the inning when Jones committed his second error in the inning. Jones attempted to throw behind Teel, who advanced to second on a single by Jon Littell, and threw the ball into right field to allow Teel to come around.

“It was poor execution and a lot of missed opportunities,” Griffin said.

Another mistake led to Stillwater nearly ending the game in the fifth. A two-base error by Muskogee pitcher Ethan Barton on pickoff attempt of Pendleton in the fifth set up Wickline, who brought Pendleton home on a line drive back up the middle of the pulled in infield. The Roughers gave up a bases-loaded walk to Joliff for Stillwater’s final run of the game.

Jones, who came in after Barton gave up back-to-back hits to open the inning, prevented the mercy rule from going into effect by getting out of a bases loaded jam with Stillwater just scoring the two runs.

Compounding the mistakes for Muskogee (3-4, 1-3) in the field was the Roughers’ inability to figure out Stillwater’s starting pitcher. The left-handed Teel went five innings and allowed just two base runners — giving up a hit and walk to back-to-back batters in the fourth — while striking out nine Muskogee batters before making way for Kevin Todhunter at the start of the sixth inning.

Muskogee roughed up Todhunter, getting three hits and two walks with the first five hitters in the top of the sixth. Harris made up for his earlier mistakes by hitting a three-run double. But Colton Bunney ended the Roughers’ rally by recording a strikeout and inducing an inning-ending double play.

The Roughers attempted to build another rally in the seventh with Smith leading off the inning with a single and pinch hitter Taylor Duncan reaching on a walk. But just as he did in the inning before, Bunney kept Muskogee at bay by retiring the side in order.

“I’m proud of the guys never giving up, but we just can’t wait until the sixth inning to get that going,” Griffin said. “That’s got to be something we have going from the first pitch.”

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