Demons beaten on strange finish
BROKEN ARROW Losing in the playoffs is never a good feeling, especially when the game's finale isn't decided by the players.
Unfortunately, that is the reality Duncan left Broken Arrow High School with on Thursday evening. A controversial delayed call by an umpire cut the Demons' rally in the seventh inning short in a 7-2 loss to Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
The Comets play Claremore, which beat MacArthur in the first round, today at 4 p.m.
Facing only one out with runners already on first and second, Jaxon Gregston blasted a ball to a hole in center field just beyond second base. A Bishop Kelley outfielder made a valiant effort to catch the ball, only for it to just miss his glove. Or so it seemed.
There was no ruling from the umpire indicating there had been a catch, so Creed Watkins and Hunter Prince continued on their base paths. However, that happened to be the same moment the umpire decided to call an out.
This put the two Demon base runners in a tough predicament, and the late call resulted in a double play for the Comets, effectively ending the game and Duncan's season. Had the no-call stood, the Demons would've had bases load and a decent chance of a comeback.
Duncan coach Erik Hughes said the entire sequence was both confusing and frustrating.
"We didn't know if it was caught or not caught," Hughes said. "We kind of felt like the call wasn't made until they started running. We really don't know what happened on that play. I didn't know until I actually went out there, and (the umpires) said, 'It was a catch.' It's just one of those deals we can't control."
Prior to the controversial ending, Duncan found itself in a desperate situation.
Trailing 7-1, the Demons were in dire need of spark, and it seemed as if they got just that. Tate Wilkins led off the fateful inning with a double to left field, and he followed that up by stealing third on a passed ball during the next at-bat.
Brandon Miller then brought Wilkins home with an RBI groundout, cutting the deficit to five runs. Shortly after that, Watkins launched what would be Duncan's final hit of the season with a single to left field to put two runners in scoring position.
Despite the disappointing season-ending defeat, the Demons' season was far from a failure. Just last season, Duncan finished with a record of 16-14 and no state tournament appearance.
The Demons nearly doubled that win total in 2018 while cutting the losses in half, ending the year with a 29-7 record that included district and regional championships.