The Stonewall Longhorns baseball team was hoping to have a strong finish after losing a heart-breaking 7-5 game to the Colbert Leopards in the semifinals of The Todd Sampson Memorial Tournament on Friday. The ’Horns got their wish.
Rallying from a 3-0 first-inning deficit and a 4-3 fourth-inning deficit, the Longhorns were able to put away the Tushka Tigers 13-4 Saturday to claim third place.
“(Getting the third-place plaque) was the main thing,” Stonewall coach Chuck Barton said. “I told the kids that normally the third-place trophy doesn’t mean a whole lot, but this third-place trophy was one I wanted us to get. This is a nice trophy to get. I’m happy with this one.”
It was a good day all around for the Pontotoc Conference as the other local team in the field, the Asher Indians, also took home hardware as they won the consolation championship game by a 10-5 score over the host Coleman Wildcats.
“We’re normally not pleased with a fifth-place trophy,” said Asher coach Shane Coker, whose team lost Thursday to Tushka before beating New Lima Friday in the consolation semifinals. “But at the same time, we’ve been on the downslide of this roller-coaster ride. Just to see our kids respond (with a strong tournament finish) — and come out on top was good. And we had to battle to do it.”
Stonewall 13, Tushka 4
The Longhorns (7-8), ranked 16th in Class A, erased a 4-3 Tushka lead with a seven-run fifth inning to put the game away. Jordan Curtis hit a sacrifice fly to score Dakota McCollum from third to tie the game at 4-4.
After that, an RBI single by Cord Hendley scored Brandon Elmore with what proved to be the game-winning run as Stonewall took a 5-4 lead.
Before the dust settled, Zeke Munday hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot, which was then followed by RBI singles by Josh Scribner and McCollum, as Stonewall took a 10-4 lead after five innings.
The blast was special for Munday as at about the same time he homered, his brother, Jake, did so while playing for Hillsdale Free Will Baptist in its game on Saturday.
The ’Horns then ended the game with a three-run seventh inning, highlighted by an RBI single by Scribner and two wild pitches to produce three runs to up the advantage to 13-4.
“These boys are playing hard at the right time,” Barton said. “They battled (Friday) night (against Colbert in the championship semifinals), we just got in too big a hole (falling behind 7-0 after two innings). The game (on Saturday) was just like it. The difference was didn’t dig ourselves as deep a hole. The kids are competing right now, and they’re learning what it takes to win — and what a perfect time to do that as it’s the playoff stretch.”
Meanwhile, McCollum (2-2) kept the Tigers (16-9), ranked fifth in Class 2A, off balance after a three-run first Tushka first inning. He struck out 11 batters in the seven-inning performance.
“Dakota threw the ball well,” Barton said. “That’s the best game he’s thrown all year. I need him to start going the distance right now, and take some of the pressure off the other pitchers. He threw a good ball game.”
For the game, Scribner was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two runs batted in, McCollum aided his own cause with a 2-for-4 outing with two runs scored and an RBI, Curtis was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, Hendley was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and Munday was 1-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and a run scored.
In defeat, Remington Evans was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for the Tigers. C.J. Gregory (5-2) suffered the loss for Tushka.
Asher 10, Coleman 5
The Indians (18-5), ranked eighth in Class B, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, which became 4-0 in the second inning.
The Wildcats (14-7), ranked 15th in Class B, cut the deficit in half at 4-2 with a two-run second inning, but that would be as close as the tournament hosts got.
Asher scored four runs in the third inning to make it 8-2 after three innings.
After the ’Cats scored three runs in the fourth to cut the Asher lead to 8-5 after four, the Indians scored twice in the fifth to make it 10-5.
After Coleman was retired in the sixth inning, the game ended by time limit.
Matt Johnson (5-0) got the win for the Indians as he struck out five batters in six innings.
“Johnson went to 5-0, and he pitched a good game,” Coker said.
Johnson aided his own cause with a 3-for-4 game, Trent Boles was 3-for-3 and Derek Claytor was 2-for-3 for Asher.
“(Friday), we had three hits,” Coker said. “(Saturday), we had 12 hits. It was good to see the kids hit the ball hard again. We sure hit the ball harder than we did (on Friday). If we can just get everyone going on the same page, we’ll be good when we get into the playoffs.”
In defeat, Jacob Allred and Hunter Evans were 2-for-3 for the Wildcats. Dustin Adams (5-2) suffered the loss for Coleman.
The two Pontotoc Conference rivals were slated to meet each other this afternoon as Stonewall is scheduled to visit Asher for a 4 p.m. contest.