In what has become a tired and familiar script, the Enid Plainsmen blew a late lead and fell 9-8 to No. 9 Mustang Monday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark, unable to hold on to an 8-1 lead as Mustang sent 12 batters to the plate in a decisive seven-run sixth inning.
The Plainsmen wasted a strong effort by starter Zeke Sarver in dropping to 15-19-1 overall and 6-7 in District 6A-4. Sarver settled down after giving up one run in the first inning, going 41⁄3 frames and allowing only two runs.
The setback was Enid's eighth loss by one run and 11th by two runs or less.
“You can’t play four-to-five innin-gs,’’ said Plainsmen head coach James Peoples. “We still don’t know how to put teams away. You have to learn how to slash their throat and we haven’t developed that killer instinct.’’
It was the second time this season Mustang (20-11, 9-4) has rallied from a late deficit to defeat Enid. The Broncos rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat Enid 6-5 in walk-off fashion earlier at the Stillwater Invitational.
However, this loss was uglier, as the Plainsmen appeared to have matters in hand, cruising along and up 8-2 in the sixth inning before Enid’s pitching fell apart. Sarver, who was pulled one inning earlier in the fifth, certainly deserved a better fate on this night.
“I felt really good,’’ Sarver said after only his second start of the season. “My team helped me out. I was just trying not to overthrow.’’
Jerry Kearney relieved Sarver in the fifth and got out of the inning on a double play ball and Enid up 8-2, but could not get out of the sixth as he loaded the bases, yielding a walk, hitting a batter and giving up a single. Christian Voitik then came on to attempt to quell the Mustang uprising, but promptly walked in a run and gave up an RBI-single and a two-run double.
Peoples said he didn’t consider leaving Sarver in the game.
“You could see his pitches were getting up and they were starting to get to him. He was tiring, and it was time to make a move.’’
With the Plainsmen ahead 8-6, Peoples summoned Cole Floyd to the mound with nobody out and runners in scoring position. Floyd gave up a two-run double to Taylor Kyle that tied the game. The Broncos got the go-ahead winning run on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Brad Wake.
The Plainsmen eventually turned to catcher Jackson Walker to take the mound for his first appearance of the season and Walker enduced Austin Roberts into a ground out to end the nightmare inning as Mustang sent 12 batters to the plate.
It was a sudden, if painfully familiar, turn of events for the Plainsmen who looked to be on their way to a win over a top 10 opponent, especially after converting a wild double play that Peoples called one of the “craziest he has ever seen,’’ in the third inning that perserved a 5-1 lead.
With one out in the third inning, Enid rightfielder Trey Gilbertson was sent back to the 369-foot marker on a long flyball that eluded him and bounced off his glove.
Mustang’s Mason Stasyszen and Wake were on base, but got a late break on the play, having to wait to see if Gilbertson came up with the ball.
Both sprinted around after Gilbertson’s misplay, but a perfect relay throw from shortstop Haden Houska to Walker nailed both runners at the plate as Stasyszen was coming on hard on the heels of Wake and Walker calmly tagged out both runners.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in person,’’ Peoples said. “I’ve seen it in (the movie) Major League. You hang around this game long enough, you will see anything.’’
It was also a first for Walker.
“I knew one of them was coming around (third base to score),’’ Walker said. “But I didn’t expect both of them. I was thinking they might try to split at the plate, but they came home right behind each other and I just made sure I held on to the ball and made the tags.’’
It would turn out to be a high point for the Plainsmen who appeared to be on their way to a win after chasing three Mustang pitchers in the first three innings, including starter Landon Vodka, who lasted only 1⁄3 inning as Enid went up 3-1 after one inning on Lawson King’s 2-RBI triple that scored Houska, who had reached on a lead-off walk and Jackson Walker. Floyd then doubled down the third base line to drive home King.
Enid added two more runs in the second and then three more in the third inning, mostly on the generosity of some shakey Mustang pitching before the Broncos turned to their fourth pitcher of the night, Stasyszen, who shut down Enid into the seventh inning before giving way to Brandon Taylor who got the save for Mustang, preserving the 9-8 victory for the Broncos.
Enid and Mustang combined to send 11 pitchers to the mound in the game, six for the Plainsmen. Floyd took the loss. Jake Walker finished the game for Enid. King went 2-4 with 2 RBI and Curtis Shelton also had 2 RBI in the defeat.
The loss locks the Plainsmen in as the fifth-seed for the playoffs, who again must bounce back from a heartbreaking loss.
“We can do it,’’ said Sarver. “We’ve done it before. That’s baseball.’’
Peoples agreed: “It’s never far from the outhouse to the penthouse in baseball.’’
Enid travels to Mustang today for the final district game of the season. The game can be heard on KCRC (1390 AM).
Upstart Heartland a World Series regular
The third-ranked Hawks, in only their sixth year of existence, will be making their third-straight appearance in the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Division II World Series.
- Enid makes team feel like 'big-leaguers'
Column: Sports world steps up in tornado aftermath
We cling to any bright moment. We celebrate the smallest bit of good news.
- Pioneer football in transition
- World Series-bound Brunswick penalized
- Waukomis’ Heasley earns Hall of Fame honor
- Local scores for 5-23-13
- Radio-TV for 5-23-13
Ex-Alva QB signs for CFL’s Argonauts
Mitchell Gale is someone who sees a glass as half full instead of half empty.
The former Alva and Abilene Christian University quarterback has signed a two-year contract as a free agent with the Toronto Argonauts, the defending Grey Cup champions of the Canadian Football League.
Trojans ease into long football season
Oklahoma Bible Academy doesn’t follow the norm of taking advantage of 10 spring football practice days (with full pads) allowed by Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
- More Sports Headlines
- Upstart Heartland a World Series regular