BYNG — Although his team is competing as one of the 28 charter members in the new Red Dirt League, Byng coach Kevin Wilson was reminded again Tuesday night that summer baseball is still summer baseball.

Wilson, whose club was hit as hard by graduation as any in the state, was without three starters and had just a dozen players available for Tuesday night’s doubleheader with McLoud to open league play. The young Pirates kept both games close, but 15 walks by Byng pitchers in the opener and key mistakes late in the nightcap enabled McLoud to sweep the twinbill, 13-8 and 11-8, and send Byng to the bottom of its seven-team division.

And, unfortunately for Wilson, his manpower shortage could become even more acute next week, when the Pirates travel to Chickasha Monday and host a tough Ardmore squad Tuesday. Catcher Wyatt Fisher, who missed Tuesday’s game because of a family outing, will be back, but shortstop Clay Plunk left this morning on a trip to Hawaii with his family and won’t return until next Wednesday; first baseman Noel Pace, who is on a trip to Cancun, will also miss both of next week’s games; and Dakota Atkeson, Byng’s No. 1 pitcher and expected to be the team’s clean-up hitter this year, has been ill for the past couple of weeks and is also questionable.

“With Clay gone, Glenn (Mitchell) will have to move (from second base) to shortstop, and we don’t have another second baseman,” Wilson said.

Game 1

McLoud 13, Byng 8

McLoud used four walks and a hit batter by Byng starter Jordan Cowger (the only one of the four Pirate hurlers who saw action Tuesday who had any previous varsity pitching experience) to score eight runs on just three hits in the top of the second and grab a 9-1 lead, and, although Byng rallied for seven runs in the bottom of the inning (on just two hits) against Redskin starter Colby Herring, the Pirates didn’t have as much success against reliever Andrew Burum.

After taking over for Herring with two outs and runners at first and second, Burum retired Dylan Hendricks on a groundout to shortstop to end the marathon second inning, then he didn’t allow another hit until Ben Cole led off the seventh with a single to left.

Byng eventually loaded the bases in the seventh on a single by Plunk and a walk to Tyler Teel, but pinch hitter Chase Bryant and leadoff hitter Logan Freeman both popped out to short, and Ryan Haynes grounded out to end the threat and the game.

McLoud did most of its damage against Cowger, who gave way to fellow sophomore Dakota Abbott to start the third after surrendering the first nine McLoud runs. Abbott pitched the final five innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight, but he also walked 11.

“We scored enough runs to win both games, but we just walked too many guys, especially in the first game,” Wilson said.

After McLoud scored an unearned run in the top of the first, Freeman manufactured a run in the bottom of the inning, reaching on an error, stealing second, moving to third on a groundout and scoring on a wild pitch.

But Cowger couldn’t find the plate in the second, and McLoud’s three hits (which all followed walks) drove home six of the eight runs in the inning. Cole Young was hit by a pitch with one out and, after stealing second, scored the first run in the second on back-to-back wild pitches by Cowger, who walked the next two batters before surrendering a two-run single to Wayland Moore to make it 4-1.

Jeremy Wright’s two-run double to right-center (after a walk to Herring) put McLoud up 6-1, and Ryan Baskin capped the outburst with a two-run double to center.

Byng made a game of it in the bottom of the inning with seven runs on just two hits — Freeman’s opposite-field bloop RBI single to left and Cowger’s two-run double down the right-field line — but couldn’t get closer.

Burum retired the first 10 batters he faced, and McLoud pushed across two runs (one earned) in the third on Wright’s two-run single and added single runs in the sixth (when Abbott walked three straight batters with two outs to force in a run) and seventh (when Baskin led off with a walk and eventually scored on the front end of a double steal).

Wright, who didn’t play in the second game after going 2-for-3 with four RBIs in the opener, was the only player on either side with more than one hit in the game, as the two teams — who combined to draw 24 walks — managed just 10 hits between them.

Game 2

McLoud 11, Byng 8

The Pirates staked Freeman (making his first start on the mound) to a 4-2 first-inning lead, and the game was tied, 5-5, after five innings, but McLoud got leadoff doubles from Burum and Herring to ignite a four-run sixth inning capped by Freeman’s throwing error on Ryan Garrett’s bunt single (one of three key Byng errors in the game) to plate the final two runs.

“With all the new kids we have playing, this summer is going to be a learning process, but there’s no excuse for the way we played on defense,” Wilson said. “We made mistakes on things we practice every day.”

Byng answered McLoud’s four-spot in the top of the sixth with three runs in the bottom of the inning on Glen Mitchell’s two-run double and a throwing error by winning pitcher Cole Young, but the Redskins got some insurance in the top of the seventh on Garrett’s two-run single to score Burum (who walked leading off the inning) and Casey Young (who struck out but reached first base when the third strike in the dirt got away from Byng backup catcher Greg Crisp).

Byng’s four-run first inning included singles by Freeman and Ryan Haynes leading off, a throwing error by Young on Mitchell’s sacrifice bunt allowing both runners to score, a sacrifice fly by Cowger and an RBI double by Ben Cole (who finished 3-for-4 and did a solid job in his first start at third base). But the Pirates lost a chance for more when Plunk popped up an attempted suicide squeeze bunt and Wright made a diving catch and ran to third to double up Cole, who had already crossed the plate.

McLoud cut the lead to 4-3 in the second, when Miles Bacon led off with a single, moved to second on a groundout, was sacrificed to third and scored on a wild pitch, and the Redskins took the lead with two runs after two men were out in the third. Dylan Colwell reached on a fielder’s choice (a failed squeeze bunt), Garrett walked and stole second, Bacon plated Colwell with an infield single as Garrett moved to third, and Garrett scored on a wild pitch.

Freeman manufactured his second run of the game to tie it in the bottom of the fourth when he walked with one out, moved to second on Haynes’ sacrifice bunt, went to third on Young’s errant pickoff attempt and stole home on a 1-2 pitch to Mitchell.

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