Beggs nips Marlow, 2-1
EDMOND With runs at a premium in a Class 3A State tournament quarterfinal game which saw two pitchers throw complete games and yield one earned run apiece, both fourth-seeded Marlow and fifth-seeded Beggs knew one simple mistake could have season-ending consequences.
After upsetting the Demons a year ago in the quarterfinals, Marlow (27-8) found that out the hard way in a 2-1 loss to Beggs (24-6) on Thursday afternoon at Edmond Memorial High School.
"This year I looked at everything and thought, player for player, it's going to be a pretty even match," Marlow coach John Morgan said.
Even it was in the pitcher's duel, but Marlow gave up a run on a fielding error in the second and squandered a prime game-tying scoring chance after senior Wyatt Bergner's one-out triple in the sixth inning.
"I thought we would swing the bat a little better," Morgan said. "We just didn't get the big hit."
Despite being saddled with the loss, Marlow senior Tanner Ladon was teriffic, tossing seven innings, yielding only three hits and one earned run while fanning four Demons. But his counterpart who earned the win, Jon Shaffer of Beggs, was just as good, yielding only one earned run, striking out two and stranding Outlaws in pivotal moments during his seven innings on the hill.
"Tanner is the ultimate competitor," Morgan said. "When I got here, he had to buy into it. Once he bought in, he learned the craft. Tanner was a craftsman for three years with what he did, throwing that curveball down here and handling both sides of the plate. What Tanner can do really made him special."
Bergner, another senior, sliced his sixth-inning rocket to the right field wall for a one-out triple, the Outlaws' fourth and final hit of the afternoon. But Bergner turned out to be the most precious of the four Outlaws left on base following a strikeout and fly out to end the inning, with Marlow still trailing 2-1.
Defensively, Beggs discussed tactics before the strikeout to prevent Bergner from scoring, knowing full well Marlow's tendencies with the threat of a squeeze or drag bunt.
"We had a good deal going," Morgan said. "If we are able to put the ball in play, even on a ground ball, Wyatt is fast enough to score from third. He (Shaffer) went after us, blew our doors off and made a good pitch to strike us out. That curveball to get the count to 0-2 caught us off guard."
Although lightning didn't strike twice, Marlow scored its lone run of the day in the bottom of the second on a drag bunt courtesy of Blaise Voight.
"I told Houston (Davis) if he gets the bunt down and you see it down the line, we're gone," Morgan recalled.
In a form of redemption, Voight's RBI scored Houston Davis to tie the game, 1-1, after Voight committed a fielding error, plating a Beggs run in the top of the second. Both Marlow and Beggs committed three errors in the game.