The Pirates are going to the Class 4A State Tournament. Fortunately, those Pirates hail from Pontotoc County.
Byng's Pirates used a pair of five-run innings to down Poteau 10-0 in a five-inning, run-rule game in the winner-take-all game of the Class 4A Regional Tournament on Monday afternoon at Town Creek Park.
The Pirates (26-7) will play Thursday in the Class 4A State Tournament quarterfinals, which means not a lot of rest for coach Shawn Streeter's bunch. No. 7 Byng will battle No. 3 Piedmont at 11 a.m. in a first-round matchup at Edmond Memorial High School.
“As long as you're there, you have a chance,” he said. “That's what I told the kids. I don't want to be the best team in the end, I want to be the luckiest team in the end. Hopefully, we'll be lucky for these three days (at state).”
It seemed like this game was never going to take place after being rescheduled — and even relocated — on three occasions on Saturday due to rain. After the game couldn't be played Saturday in Poteau, it was going to be moved to a 3 p.m. start Saturday in Hartshorne. Then, when umpires couldn't be found, the game was going to try to be played Sunday afternoon in Poteau, but Byng could not play on Sunday. So, it was finally set for Monday afternoon.
“It was pretty nerve-racking,” Streeter said. “When it comes down to it, you have to have faith in your kids. They responded.”
Byng pitcher Reid Wall got the win as he struck out 10 batters in five innings. With the game still scoreless, he wiggled out of a second-and-third jam with no outs by fanning three straight batters to end the threat.
“We got a great pitching performance from Reid,” Streeter said. “He stepped up, and he did great on the mound for us.”
Then, Byng's offense went to work in the bottom of the third. Byng (26-7) sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring half of them. Andre Davis hit a two-run single to break the scoreless deadlock to give the visiting Pirates a 2-0 lead.
That was followed by an RBI triple by Kiyaanii Bohan, an RBI single by Tyler Pierce and a wild pitch to give Byng a 5-0 lead after three innings. Byng had five of its 10 hits in that inning.
After Reid Wall retired Poteau in order in the fourth inning, the Byng bats came alive once more.
Byng sent nine batters to the plate in another five-run outburst. Reid Wall aided his own cause with an RBI double to make it 6-0. With one out, Bohan's two-run single made it 8-0.
Gage Wall's RBI single made it 9-0 and he later scored on a Poteau error to up Byng's lead to 10-0 after four innings.
“All my batters stepped up,” Streeter said. “We hit the ball (Monday) the best that we did the whole regional. Everybody got up there and did their jobs. We got some run support (for Reid Wall), and that's what it takes. Hopefully, we can do it in a few days.”
Poteau (29-9) tried to rally to at least keep the game going past the top of the fifth inning. Kade McMillin led off with a single into left field, and went to second on a misplayed ball off the bat of Tristan Myers. However, in trying to get to third base, McMillin was thrown out for the first out of the inning. Myers reached second base on the play.
Roger Barcheers then hit a ground ball which was booted by Pierce at shortstop to put runners at first and second with one out.
After Reid Wall struck out the next batter, Wall got Kaydon Evans to ground to Bohan at third base, who stepped on third base to force out Myers, and the Pontotoc County Pirates earned the regional championship.
For the game, Bohan was 2-for-2 with a triple, three runs batted in and two runs scored, Gage Wall was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Reid Wall was 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored for Byng.
Poteau managed only four hits, all singles by McMillin, Myers, Jace Pitchford and Blake Johnson. Jay Werner (6-3) suffered the loss.