Mac suffers first loss, bounces back to beat PC North
MacArthur baseball is undefeated no more.
The Highlanders suffered their first loss of the season on Friday afternoon, falling to Southwest Oklahoma foe Marlow, 6-4, on Day 2 of the Bo Bowman Tournament at Eisenhower.
However, Mac wasn't down for long.
Rodney DeLong's squad bounced back in a positive way, thumping Putnam City North, 8-1, to clinch a spot in the tourney championship game against Elgin tonight at 6 at the Lawton High diamond. The Owls squashed LHS and Altus on Friday by a combined score 19-1 to advance to the championship.
Although Mac's win streak ended at 12 games, DeLong takes pride in what his team has been able to accomplish so early in the season.
"I've been coaching for about 30 years, and I don't think I've ever coached a team that started off 12-0," DeLong said. "I've never done that, even with all the travel ball teams I had early in my career. I definitely never expected to go 12-0. I thought we'd have some success early because our schedule wasn't real tough, but these guys have really played well.
"Even when losing today, we had one bad inning, but other than that, I'm pretty positive in the way we're playing."
Marlow upsets Mac
The Outlaws weren't intimidated by the Highlanders' impressive 12-0 start to the season, and it showed early on.
After a scoreless first inning, Marlow got busy in the second, scoring five of its six runs in that frame. The Outlaws grabbed a 2-0 lead after Kaden Wilson singled in Nolan Herchock and Noah Overshine, both of whom reached on singles on the previous two plays.
Wilson found home as well, stealing second on a Mac throwing error and third on a passed ball before scoring on a fielder's choice from a Tanner Ladon ground ball.
Mac starter Racer Felter walked Marlow's next two batters, Peyton Ladon and Wyatt Bergner, and Donnie Huber brought the pair home shorty after with a single to right field, putting the Highlanders in a five-run hole.
Mac didn't give up another hit the rest of the game thanks to relief man Brad Hoskins, but the damage was already done.
Malik Wilson scored a sacrifice fly from Michelle Artzberger to trim the deficit to 5-1 in the third, but the Outlaws made up for it in the bottom half when Nate Herchock stole third and home on consecutive passed balls.
The Highlanders capitalized on a fielding error and a wild pitch in the fourth, tacking on two more runs to come within three before adding another in the sixth after a scoreless fifth, but it wasn't enough.
Mac fell victim to the two-hour time limit imposed for tournament play, ending the comeback just short.
Huber earned the win on the mound for Marlow despite allowing four hits and three runs and recording no strikeouts.
Mac coach DeLong said there is no shame in losing to a team like the Outlaws.
"Marlow is a good ball club," DeLong said. "We knew they were ñ we watched them. They play really good defensively, and they're coached very, very well. I knew it was going to be a tough game for us. We didn't pitch well, we walked too many batters and we made three or four errors. We don't typically make mistakes ñ we haven't this year ñ and we didn't pick a very good time to do it. That's just baseball.
"When you play good teams and you don't play better than them, you're going to get beat. I told them after the game, 'You get what you deserve'. A game like that kind of makes you see what you're made of. If you're not battle tested like that, you're definitely not ready to go into the playoffs, so it was good for us."
Zac DeLong lifts Highlanders over PCN
Zac DeLong, the coach's son, faced an interesting predicament against Putnam City North.
Having lost earlier in the day, Mac faced a rare must-win situation. A second-straight loss would eliminate the Highlanders from Bowman championship contention.