MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

July 6, 2014

Three Rivers headed to Okmulgee semifinals

For the second weekend in a row, the Three Rivers American Legion Bandits advanced to the semifinals of a tournament, this time in the Okmulgee Fourth of July Festival, with two wins on Friday.

The Bandits, who lost in the finals of the Heartland All-Star Classic last weekend at Connors State College, came from four runs down to beat the Ardmore Cardinals 5-4 in their first game of the day before holding on to beat Texarkana, Texas, 3-2.

“Both games we did some good things offensively,” said Bandits coach Rusty Fulps. “We rose to the occasion.”

The Bandits (24-4) will play at 10 a.m. today in one semifinal against Texarkana, while Ardmore will play Clarksville, Ark., in the other semi. The semifinal winners will meet in the finals at 3 p.m.

In the first game, Ardmore scored all its runs in the top of the third inning. Three Rivers began to chip away at the Cardinals’ lead with two runs in the bottom of the third and tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth with two more runs.

The Bandits broke the tie with the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth when A.J. Deason tripled home Fort Gibson’s Boo Seward to make a winner of Ryan Collins, who improved to 4-0. Deason finished the game going 2-for-3 with his run-scoring triple accounting for his only run batted in while former Checotah Wildcat Caleb Knight, the 2014 All-Phoenix Most Valuable Player, was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Deason kept his hitting stroke in gear with another 2-for-3 performance against Texarkana, this time with two RBIs. Seward was 2-for-2 with one RBI while Connors State signee Conner Mangham also tossed a complete game to improve to 3-1 on the season, giving up just six hits while striking out 11 batter.

“Baseball was working like it’s supposed to,” Fulps said. “Texarkana is a team of top prospects. Today we faced better competition and we stepped it up.”

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