BYNG — In the opener of Monday night’s Red Dirt League doubleheader, Byng’s Dakota Atkeson threw like a guy who is the undisputed ace of his team’s young pitching staff. In the nightcap, Ada’s Willy Gould pitched like a guy who wants to be.

Atkeson, a junior right-hander who is the only member of the Pirates’ rotation with any serious varsity experience, tossed a nifty four-hitter in only his second start of the summer and Noel Pace hit a grand slam to highlight a five-run fifth inning in Byng’s 8-0 run-rule victory in Game 1, then Gould bounced back from a shaky second inning to allow just three hits over the final five and Ada pounded out 18 hits in a 17-6 blowout in Game 2.

The split left the Cougars at 5-5 in the new league with two doubleheaders remaining, while Byng — which had won four of five before the Game 2 loss after starting the league schedule 0-4 — is 4-6. Ada will host Duncan in a doubleheader tonight beginning at 6 p.m., while Byng has a home twinbill against Washington also scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Game 2

Ada 17, Byng 6

Byng scored five runs on four hits in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead, but Ada answered with a six-run third highlighted by a three-run homer from Bart Estes.

A senior who played only sparingly on the Cougars’ state tournament team this spring, Estes — who played right field but didn’t bat in the opener — hit the first pitch he saw from Byng sophomore left-hander Dakota Abbott over the left field fence to drive home Josh Balch and Brett Walls and give Ada the lead for good.

“Different guys will get an opportunity to play this year, and it’s nice to see Bart take advantage of his opportunity,” Ada coach Ronny Johns said of Estes, who was 3-for-5 and scored twice in the nightcap. “Bart didn’t play a lot, but he was one of our leaders this spring just by keeping everybody in the game (mentally). It’s nice to see a team guy like that succeed.”

Spencer Penrod, who had a pair of doubles later in the game, coaxed a walk after the homer by Estes and later scored on an RBI single by Philip Tweedy (one of Tweedy’s four hits in the game) off reliever Glenn Mitchell to make it 7-5, and Gould took over from there.

“My shoulder was tight the first few innings,” said Gould, who, like Tweedy, recently concluded Camp Paradise with the Ada football team. “Once it loosened up, I threw a lot better.”

Gould surrendered four of the Pirates’ eight hits in the contest in the second inning, including an RBI double by Mitchell (who was 3-for-5 and drove in three runs in the doubleheader) and a run-scoring single Clay Plunk, and the outburst could have been bigger if not for Penrod’s sliding catch on Ryan Haynes’ sacrifice fly to score Plunk with the third run of the inning and Gould’s strikeout of Wyatt Fisher with the bases loaded to finally end the rally.

Chad Palmer drew a leadoff walk to start the third-inning explosion, which featured RBI singles by Josh Balch and Tweedy and was kept alive by a key two-out error that allowed Estes to bat.

Riley Keith (who was 3-for-4 in the game) followed the walk to Palmer with a double to left-center, but Abbott struck out Gould and retired Quaid Johns on an RBI groundout to second before Balch singled to drive home Keith with the second run in the inning.

Abbott should have been out of the third with no further damage, but Plunk couldn’t handle a ground ball up the middle (one of five Byng errors in the game) by Brett Walls, and Estes put Ada on top to stay with his homer one pitch later.

Walls’ two-run double was the big blow in Ada’s three-run fourth, Keith singled home Tweedy (who led off the inning with a double) in the fifth to make it 11-5, and the Cougars were within one out of a run-rule victory of their own after Penrod doubled home Walls (who reached on an error) and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.

Byng finally touched Gould for another run in the bottom of the sixth on a one-out single by Haynes and an RBI double from Pace, but Gould struck out Jordan Cowger with the bases loaded to end the Pirates’ final threat of the night, and Ada then closed out the scoring with four runs after two men were out in the top of the seventh.

Johns singled with one out and scored the first run of the inning on Walls’ two-out single to right, then, after Estes singled, Penrod ripped a two-run double to the wall in left-center to make it 16-6 and later scored on Tweedy’s infield hit.

Gould finished with seven strikeouts (five in the final four innings), and three came at critical times. In addition to fanning Fisher and Cowger with the bases loaded in the second and sixth, Gould also struck out Atkeson (the Pirates’ cleanup hitter) for the second out in the fourth, after Byng put runners at second and third with nobody out and Ada leading 9-5. Pace then flied out to left to end the inning.

“We’re a lot better right now than we were at the start of the season,” said Byng coach Kevin Wilson, who lost six senior starters off a team that won a state title (fall 2004) and made three other state tournament appearances in the past two years. “But this (the Game 2 loss) is what happens when you run out of pitching."   

Game 1

Byng 8, Ada 0

Atkeson, who didn’t pitch for the first time this summer until last Tuesday (when he tossed a three-hitter against Chickasha in the first game of a Byng doubleheader sweep) because of illness, allowed just two balls out of the infield (singles by Tweedy in the third and fifth) and just one baserunner past second base. He also closed with a flourish, striking out five of the last eight batters he faced after picking Keith off third base, striking out Balch and retiring Walls on a groundout to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

Ada starter Quaid Johns allowed two first-inning runs (on a leadoff double by Logan Freeman, Haynes’ infield hit, Mitchell’s RBI single and a passed ball) but shut the Pirates out in the second, third and fourth before Byng put the game away in the fifth.

Freeman and Haynes drew one-out walks to start the rally, then Mitchell doubled home Freeman before Atkeson reached on an infield hit to load the bases.

Johns was ahead of Pace 1-2 after an attempted squeeze bunt trickled foul, but the Byng first baseman lined the next pitch over the wall in left field to make it 7-0, and Haynes ended the game on the run rule one inning later with a single to center to drive home Cowger, who had drawn a one-out walk.

Haynes, Freeman and Mitchell all had two hits in Byng’s nine-hit attack against Johns and Balch (who pitched the sixth), while Ada managed only infield singles by Keith and Johns in the fourth other than the two hits by Tweedy (who was 6-for-9 in the twinbill). Atkeson also walked three and hit two batters.

Red Dirt Boxscores

Monday’s Games

At Stokes Field • Byng

Game 1

Byng 8, Ada 0

ADA 000 000 — 0 4 0

BYNG 200 051 — 8 9 0

     Quaid Johns, Josh Balch (6) and Riley Keith. Dakota Atkeson and Wyatt Fisher. WP-Atkeson. LP-Johns. HR-Noel Pace (B). 2B-Logan Freeman, Glenn Mitchell, Jordan Cowger (B). HL-Philip Tweedy 2-3, Keith 1-3, Johns 1-3 (A), Pace 1-2, RS, 4 RBIs; Freeman 2-3, 2 RS; Ryan Haynes 2-3, 2 RS, RBI; Mitchell 2-2, 2 RBIs; Atkeson 1-2, Cowger 1-2, RS (B).


Game 2

Ada 17, Byng 6

ADA 106 312 4 — 17 18 1

BYNG 050 001 0 — 6 8 5

Willy Gould and Riley Keith. Dakota Abbott, Glenn Mitchell (3), Chase Bryant (6) and Wyatt Fisher. WP-Gould. LP-Abbott. HR-Bart Estes (A). 2B-Spencer Penrod 2, Keith, Brett Walls, Philip Tweedy. HL-Tweedy 4-6, 2 RS, 2 RBIs; Keith 3-5, 2 RS, RBI; Quaid Johns 2-4, RS; Estes 3-5, 2 RS, 3 RBIs; Walls 2-5, 4 RS, 3 RBIs; Penrod 2-4, 2 RS, 3 RBIs (A); Ryan Haynes 2-3, RS, RBI; Noel Pace 2-3, RS, RBI; Mitchell 1-3, RBI; Fisher 1-3, RS; Clay Plunk 1-4, RS, RBI (B).

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