, Muskogee, OK

March 2, 2013

Roughers give new coach a win in opener

By Jimmy Stinson
Phoenix Correspondent

— Muskogee High School’s baseball opener was played on a cold and windy day at Rougher Park but the Rougher bats were hot enough to grab the opener 8-4 over the Sapulpa Chieftans in coach Jeremy Griffin’s debut as MHS skipper.

The hottest bat for the Roughers belonged to Dakota Morse.  His 4-for-4 day at the plate helped propel the Roughers to victory.

Muskogee (1-0) struck first, plating a run in the bottom of the first.  Garrett Brown reached on a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Bowden and scored on the first of Morse’s hits, a single to left.

“I wasn’t looking for any paticular pitch. I just wanted to go inside out and make contact,”  said Morse.

Sapulpa (0-1) answered in the top of the second on back-to-back doubles by Gavin Biggs and Brock Zanca, followed by an RBI single by Austin Feathers.  

Brown scored again in the third inning after reaching base on an error and was driven in again by Morse.  Sapulpa added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to take the lead, but the advantage would be short-lived.

The top of the fifth was good for the Roughers.  

Muskogee sent nine batters to the plate, led by Morse, who added his third hit.  Harris Jones reached base on a walk, followed by Trey Gatzman who reached on an error by the Chieftan’s first baseman.  Casey Winters one out single drove in two runs and Brown drove in two.  The Roughers scored five in the fifth and never looked back.

"I thought it was a great win,” said  Griffin.  "I thought our guys played really hard.  I think the biggest thing is we had runners on and they (Sapulpa) got out of a big jam.  Our guys showed a lot of character and came back and scored five in the bottom of the fifth to kill their momentum.  

“From day one the heart has been there, they want to succeed, they have worked hard all off-season."

Morse relieved starter Ethan Barton with two outs in the fifth. Barton allowed four runs on five hits. Morse fanned four in 2 2/3, allowing one hit.

"I thought Dakota did an outstanding job on the bump for us,” added Coach Griffin.  "He threw well and so did Ethan."

Morse scored twice and had  two RBIs, while Brown was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.  Jones was 1-for-1 with two walks and a run scored and Winters went 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs.

The Roughers will play today against Westmoore at Jenks in a 2:30 p.m. start.