Mother Nature was the MVP — Most Visible Player — during the three days of Byng’s Hill-Prescott Memorial Tournament.
Heavy fog interrupted Thursday’s final opening-round contest between Latta and Kingston after one inning and changed a four-game Friday schedule into a five-game slate that was also suspended before the last game could be completed.
Lightning in advance of a severe thunderstorm that roared through the area Friday night caused the suspension of the second semifinal contest between Byng and Coalgate in the top of the fourth inning with the host Pirates leading 1-0. The heavy rain that followed put the remainder of the tournament in jeopardy, and more rain Saturday made it official.
“We turned (the dirt on the infield) over this morning and we though we had a chance to play,” Byng coach Shawn Streater said Saturday morning. “But it’s raining here again, so there’s no way we can play.
“We won’t be able to make it up,” he added. “The playoffs start Thursday (in Classes 2A through 4A), and almost everybody has a game scheduled Monday.”
The storm wrote a premature end to a day that began with Latta beating Kingston, 11-1, in the completion of Thursday’s suspended game, Seminole eliminating defending champion McLoud and Sulphur beating Kingston in loser’s bracket contests, and Latta edging Glenpool, 9-7, in Friday’s first semifinal.
Latta 9, Glenpool 7
Dylan Raper’s leadoff home run in the sixth was the only earned run off Latta lefty Taylor Dunnigan after a first inning in which Dunnigan walked four batters and hit another to fuel a three-run Glenpool rally that featured just one hit — an RBI single by Matt Lafitte following leadoff walks to Raper and Brandon Edge.
“Taylor didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled all day,” Latta coach Eddie Collins said of Dunnigan, who allowed just five hits over six innings and walked only three batters after the first. “It wasn’t artistic, but the conditions weren’t the best. (The Warriors) are a good team, and at this time of year a win is a win.”
The Panthers (No. 3 in Class 2A) answered Glenpool’s opening salvo with five unearned runs in the bottom of the first on just two hits — Dylan Tinkler’s RBI single to plate Bryce Harris (who, like two-hole hitter Deryk Ronk, had reached on an error) with Latta’s first run and a two-run single by Colton Engel that made it 3-0. Glenpool committed four errors in the inning and six in the game, leading to seven unearned runs.
After Dunnigan worked around a leadoff walk to Raper in the top of the second, Latta (18-9) scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Deryk Ronk started that rally with a double, and Chad Bigham capped it with a two-out RBI single.
A two-out error in the top of the third — one of three by the Panthers in the game — led to three unearned runs for Glenpool. Nine-hole hitter Tyler Stopp followed the miscue with an RBI single to drive in the second run in the inning, and Raper followed with a run-scoring double to make it 7-6.
Latta nine-hole hitter drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third and scored on Ronk’s one-out single to extend the lead to two runs, and the Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on Tinkler’s leadoff single, a sacrifice by Reed Johnson and Engel’s line-drive double to the wall in right-center.
The Warriors flirted with a big inning after Raper’s home run in the sixth, but a close play at the plate short-circuited that rally.
Edge walked on a 3-2 pitch following Raper’s blast, and he advanced to third on the third Latta error of the game. Cleanup hitter Victor Cervantes then attempted a squeeze bunt, but he tapped the ball back to Dunnigan, who made an underhanded toss to catcher Bryce Harris to nip Edge for a big first out.
Dunnigan then struck out Taylor McIntosh and retired Nolan McCutcheon to end the inning, and the game was called because of the two-hour time limit.
Ronk, Tinkler and Engel had two hits apiece and combined to drive in four runs (three by Engel) and score three (two by Ronk) for the Panthers. Raper finished 2-for-2 and reached base four times for Glenpool.
Byng 1, Coalgate 0
Byng ace Brandon Fortner allowed just one hit — an infield single by Coalgate cleanup hitter Shay Loudermilk leading off the second — and struck out four in his three innings on the mound.
Wildcat starter Nolan Fanning also surrendered just one hit, but Jake Wellington's two-out single to center in the first scored Byng leadoff hitter Reid Wall, who was hit by Fanning's first pitch in the game and stole second with one out.