“You have to give it up to Oktaha. Their pitcher threw well and kept us off balance, and we made some errors we probably shouldn’t have made,” said Byng head coach Shawn Streater.
Byng scratched for two runs in the top of third after Elliott hit Zeke Lumley and Ryan Smith to start things off. Byng leadoff hitter Hunter Capps hit a sacrifice bunt and was safe at first on an error that loaded the bases with no outs.
Joe Nemecek drove in a run on a ground ball to second and Smith scored on a balk to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Oktaha got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third on a Dalton Martin RBI single that left runners at first and second with two outs. Nemecek, Byng’s starting pitcher, avoided further damage with his third strikeout of the game.
Capps went to the mound to start the fourth inning and struck out seven and didn’t allow a hit in a sparkling relief effort.
Byng tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the fifth. Nemecek led off with a sharp single to right field that turned out to be the Pirates’ only hit of the game. Back-to-back walks to Reid Wall and Andre Davis loaded the bases before Andrew Daniel’s sacrifice fly drove in a run. Lumley reached on the second Oktaha error of the contest as the Pirates boosted their lead to 4-1.
Streater said there’s no time to dwell on Byng’s low key offensive performance.
“Baseball is funny. Some days you look like a world-beater, and some days you struggle to win. Today we struggled to win,” he said. “But at the end of the day, in a tournament, you just have to win. We won so we live to play (tonight). We have to bring a better effort tomorrow than we did today or we’ll get beat.”