Shockers Black rolls, but Gray struggles
The Jim Walton Tournament kicked off on Thursday at MacArthur and Cameron University's McCord Field, and though the Southwest Shockers experienced much success during opening day, one of the three squads wasn't as fortunate.
The Shockers Gray team, consisting of area players who are incoming high school seniors, juniors and sophomores, experienced some difficulty in its first two games of pool play, falling to Shockers Black, 10-2, and the Burkburnett Blacksox, 17-5.
Gray is the youngest of the three teams and initially wasn't slated to participate in the tournament until another team dropped out. Wanting to get the young lineup some practice before playing teams in its age bracket later this summer, Shockers founder Perry Warren registered the team.
Owen Smith, a Shockers Red assistant coach who managed the Gray team on Thursday, said he thought the team played well given the circumstances.
"I mean, they're playing kids three years older than them," Smith said. "That's a big difficulty, and they overcame a lot of adversity in that aspect. Definitely still have a lot of work to do with it being the first couple of weeks, but by the end of the summer, they're going to be pretty good.
"Once they start playing with their age group, they're going to start blowing kids out of the water. I wouldn't be surprised if they're beating some of our older teams, too."
Smith's prognostication might not be that farfetched. After all, Shockers Gray led Shockers Black for four innings before a slew of errors derailed the upset bid.
Black rallied off most of its runs late in the contest to take the win in five innings. In a game last Saturday at USAO in Chickasha, those same teams battled to an 11-11 tie.
Just like the Red Shockers, the Black Shockers are 2-0 after day one of the tournament. The Black Shockers held off the OKC Expos, 12-9, after defeating their counterparts in Gray. Black plays Woodward at 2 p.m. today before meeting Blacksox18 at 7 p.m. at McCord Field.
Even so, Gray has struggled to find its groove during this young season.
After the two losses on Thursday, Gray sports a record of 2-4-1. It returns to action today at 9 a.m. against Woodward 17U and 11:30 a.m. against the OKC Expos. Both games will be held at CU's McCord Field.
The Expos handed Gray a 10-2 loss last Sunday.
Those struggles were evident against the Blacksox.
Gray pitcher Colby Flood of MacArthur couldn't seem to find a rhythm on the mound, and the Texas squad wasted little time tallying runs, garnering a 5-0 lead in the first inning.
Unfortunately for Flood, that was only the beginning.
The incoming sophomore gave up seven hits, six walks and eight runs with no strikeouts in three innings on the mound. Three of those hits were doubles.
Cole Shultz earned the win for the Blacksox, recording three strikeouts while allowing six hits in four innings of action.
The Shockers found themselves in a 7-0 hole heading to the bottom of the second, but they still had some fight in them.