, Muskogee, OK

April 27, 2013

Gore’s rally falls short in semis

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— GORE — Gore’s short-lived rally in the seventh only served to point a glaring light at a second inning defensive letdown that spelled the end of their season in the Class A regional semifinals here Friday.

It was in that second frame on a cold, windy and sometimes drizzly afternoon when Afton plated five runs with two outs with only one solid base hit, and the Eagles went on to beat the Pirates 11-6.

The inning put Gore right-hander Kolby Clay (7-3)  in a hole he only partially created, loading the bases on a walk  and hit batsman combined with a dropped fly by center fielder Logan Ohl. Still, after getting Afton’s Bo Ferguson on a strikeout, Clay had a shot at getting oRiley Slusher’s grounder in the direction of shortstop Wade Shanks. But Shanks’ throwing error to first on the putout scored two runs.

Following that, Dalton Shinn’s infield fly just to the third base side of the mound fell without anyone calling for it, scoring another run. Zach Dotson then laced a two-run  double to right, making it a 5-2 game.

“One mistake and it just snowballed and before you know it, everybody’s heads are down,” Gore coach Eric Douthit said, his team finishing at 24-7.  “It doesn’t matter what you do at the plate if you don’t make the plays in the field and that’s what happened out here today.”

Afton (13-13), which lost to Gore 6-2 in a first-round game on Thursday, went on to lose to Rattan and have its season end. Rattan advances to the state tournament.

It was 6-2 in Friday’s contest when Ohl’s two-run double to left got the Pirates back within a pair. But a four-run fifth highlighted by Shinn’s two-run double just out of reach of a diving Ohl led to an 11-4 Eagles’ lead.

Jake Johnson’s two-run double gave Gore some hope in the seventh, but winning pitcher Dotson (6-4) struck out Grant Cotherman and a looking Jake Tincher on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

“I hurt for my seniors,” said Douthit of a group that included Ohl, Clay, Cole Keathley,  Johnson, Ben Smith and Kathan Griffith. “They took it a step up after 17-15 last year losing our first two games at regionals, so 24-7 is the result of that.”

The Pirates were on the short end of several calls.  On one, the Pirates had the bases loaded and no outs in the third and back-to-back plays left them empty handed. Keathley was called out on a close squeeze play at the plate then on the next delivery, Dotson struck out Jake Johnson to end the inning.

In the fourth with two on and no outs, Shanks hit a blooper that barely reached the front end of the dirt when Afton shortstop tried to make a lay on it. Instead of Shanks reaching safely at first, the home plate umpire ruled an infield fly, which retired Shanks even though the chance at an out wasn’t routine.

“We took a chance on one and didn’t get the call and then in my mind, got the wrong call on the infield fly rule,” Douthit said. “I’m also glad I didn’t have the strike zone all season we had today.”