MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

July 15, 2014

Three Rivers bounces back, sweeps home doubleheader

WARNER — The Three Rivers Bandits again rebounded from mistakes in their previous game in sweeping a doubleheader from the Bentonville (Ark.) Tigers, run-ruling them with a 9-1 decision then capping it with a 2-1 win at Connors State on Monday.

“Our small ball game was well executed today and it really helped us,” said Bandits head coach Rusty Fulps. “That’s all we have been asking for from our guys.”

The Bandits (30-8) did it with the help of some defensive miscues from the Tigers.

Poor throws cost the Tigers in the fourth inning, as Drew Wilson’s triple turned into a run, as the throw to third sailed into the fence. Wilson plowed the catcher, who had the play at the plate but dropped the ball, making it a 3-1 game. Wilson also scored in the second on Boo Seward’s groundout to second.

In the fifth, after reaching first on a poorly overthrown ball to first, Jack Christian scored from third on Carter Brown’s wild pitch. Seward had his second RBI of the game, four batters later, as he singled to score Caleb Knight from third. Seward scored on a big double from Brennan Davis which made it a 6-1 ball game at the end of the fifth.

The Bandits ended the game in the following inning as they added three more runs with some key hits and clumsy defense to force the run rule. McKaine Foster opened the inning with a double and was then sent around to third on Preston Whitten’s single.

Whitten stole second following his single, and was granted much more as the throw to tag him out sailed deep into the outfield, scoring Foster. The throw to third was also overthrown, which prompted Fulps to give the sign for Whitten to head home. The throw home was also overthrown, allowing Whitten to easily score to make it a 8-1 game.

The game ended on consecutive wall-denting doubles from Knight and Tim Smithson, whose double scored in Knight.

“We have to do what coach says and continue to get better each day. We have been struggling at the plate of late and we don’t need to be slumping like we have been,” said winning pitcher A.J. Deason. “Our pitching has been good but we have to hit behind it.”

Deason was the winning pitcher for the Bandits as he pitched a complete game, finishing with three hits and four strikeouts.

“You are not going to find another team that is 30-8, that feels they have underachieved,” said Fulps. “Our boys feel that way and we know we have to remain consistent and get hot and prove ourselves.”

Chad Musteen scored from third on Dalton McKaughom’s single into right field in the second inning. It would be Bentonville’s only run.

Foster was 2-for-2 with a double and a single. Knight was 2-for-3 with a double.

Dillion Guffey and Ryan Collins combined on the mound to down the Tigers, 2-1, in the second game. Knight scored on a wild pitch in the fourth and Dalton Martin scored on another throwing error in the fifth.

“We have to become more consistent to get ready for state.  I am truly expecting us to take this thing,” said Deason. “I am ready.”

The Bandits go to Bartlesville on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. doubleheader. They return to their home field at Connors for a 1 p.m. twinbill Saturday against the Oklahoma Outlaws.

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