MacArthur, Duncan 1 win away from State, Ike eliminated
Two Lawton schools were still in the regional playoffs entering Friday. Both tasted bitter defeat, but one still has a chance to advance to the state tournament.
MacArthur fell 4-3 to Piedmont on Friday night. That puts the Highlanders in a winner-take-all game with the Wildcats today at noon. A win for Mac would put the gold and green in the 5A state tournament for the second consecutive year.
A year removed from playing for a spot in the state tournament, the Eisenhower Eagles saw their baseball season end more abruptly Friday.
After losing 10-1 to regional host Duncan, Ike was in a win-or-go-home scenario against Woodward. Up by a run through three-and-a-half innings, Ike surrendered two runs in the bottom of the fourth and were unable to get any runs back.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Duncan not only handled Eisenhower, but shut down Woodward, 10-0, behind a spectacular performance by ace pitcher Tyler Polk.
Eisenhower finishes the season 11-26. Duncan will face Woodward today at noon at Sportman's Park in Duncan. A win by the Demons will punch their ticket to the Class 5A State Baseball Tournament.
Offensive struggles haunt Ike in season-ending loss
DUNCAN Ike started the final inning with two quick outs. But Alex Young singled and Nick Paquin got hit by a pitch. Spencer Brown walked to load the bases for Bubba Paquin. On a 3-2 count, Paquin looked as a low pitch cruised past him. Unfortunately for Paquin, the pitch wasn't low enough for the umpire, who called Paquin out on strikes. Eisenhower's season was over.
It was that kind of afternoon for Eisenhower. Despite playing better in the field than they had in several weeks, their lack of offensive punch was their downfall.
The Eagles could muster just three base hits, all of them coming from Young.
"We did not swing the bat well at all," Eisenhower coach Jay Vermillion said. "Both Duncan and Woodward did not throw their aces today. We saw pitching we've been able to hit all year long. We were awful tight today, we weren't loose. We were taking pitches we normally would swing at."
Ike struggled early with Woodward starter Carsten Barnett, who retired seven of the first eight Eagles he faced.
Ike had a scary moment in the second inning when first baseman Spencer Brown got hit on the arm during a bang-bang play at first base on an infield single by Slaydn Covalt. Brown stayed in the game but Covalt would eventually score on a wild pitch when starter Tre Harris' pitch tipped off the glove of catcher Ryan Shows and to the backstop.
Eisenhower bounced back in the top of the third when a throwing error allowed Tre Harris to move to second base and Ismail Garcia to third. Connor Collins' sacrifice groundout drove home Garcia and Alex Young's single scored Harris.
But the Eagles squandered opportunities to expand on their lead. After two dropped fly balls by Woodward fielders put runners on the corners with Brayden Halberg up, Halberg walked, loading the bases for Garcia. But Woodward escaped the trouble spot with a strikeout.
Woodward retook the lead when Drake Kerr's double scored two. Ike appeared to be in further trouble when Jacob Runyan hit a ball off the left field wall and Kerr coasted comfortably to third. But Runyan got tagged out jogging to second base, seemingly believing the ball had hit the light pole on the other side of the fence, which would have been a home run. Woodward still had a runner in scoring position with Kerr at third. But Kerr was thrown out attempting to steal home. So instead of two runners on and one out, Ike escaped the inning just one run behind. Ike appeared to have dodged a bullet.