By BOB FORREST
ALLEN — Dearth Parker and Atlee Kile are back, and that could be bad news for the rest of Class A baseball over the next few weeks.
Parker and Kile, two of the top hitters on a Roff baseball team that went 30-2 and was ranked No. 1 heading into the Class A state tournament last fall and starters on the Tiger basketball team that reached the state title game in March, both started slowly at the plate and on the mound this spring.
But in the last two weeks, Parker and Kile have been two of the hottest players in the state, and they combined to burn Allen Monday night as the Tigers celebrated their return to the top of the Class A rankings with an 8-3 victory over the ninth-ranked Mustangs in the nightcap of the Allen Festival.
Parker tossed a five-hitter and went 3-for-4 at the plate with a home run, and battery mate Kile cracked a three-run fifth-inning homer to break open a tight game and spoil a gutty performance by Allen ace Brandon Postoak (3-3).
In the first game of the day, Tyler Harrington went 3-for-4 and drove in the game-winning runs with a two-run single in the sixth as Allen edged Coalgate (No. 6 in Class 2A) 8-7.
Roff 8, Allen 3
Parker outdueled Postoak on the mound and at the plate in a classic battle of two of the area’s best all-around athletes.
Allen (13-6) bunched three hits — including a long two-run homer by leadoff hitter Chad Colbert — to score three runs in the third, but the Mustangs managed just two infield hits by Postoak in the other six innings. Parker (5-1), relying on a nasty curve and a fastball clocked in the mid-80s, struck out 15 Allen batters (including the last six he faced), and his breaking ball was the final pitch to all but one of his strikeout victims. The senior righthander walked just one and allowed a single baserunner (Postoak, who reached on a bunt single with one out in the fifth) after Allen’s third-inning outburst — which trimmed an early 4-0 Roff lead to a single run.
“The last four times out, Dearth’s been really sharp,” Roff coach Ead Simon said of Parker, who struck out six Allen batters looking. “He’s really stepped it up.
“Dearth and Atlee have been hitting the ball a ton,” Simon added. “Dearth’s been hitting a lot of home runs the last couple of weeks, and Atlee was 10-for-12 at Duncan (the Tigers were runner-up to Class 5A No. 3 Duncan at the Duncan Tournament last weekend) with three home runs.”
Four of Roff’s seven hits off Postoak were infield singles, but Parker’s line-drive two-run shot to left in the second gave the Tigers their early four-run cushion, and Kile’s long blast down the left field line in the fifth offset Allen’s rally in the third and gave Parker all the breathing room he needed.
“We didn’t get a lot of hits, but we got timely hits,” Simon said.
Roff played small ball to take a 2-0 first-inning lead against Postoak, who struck out nine in a 133-pitch complete-game effort and, who, like Parker, had a sharp curve and a fastball in mid-80s.
Parker led off the inning with an infield hit, C. J. Stewart was hit by a pitch with one out, and Carter Browning followed with an infield single. Parker scored when Kile’s fielder’s choice grounder forced Browning at second, and Stewart scored when Bubba Stephens’ relay throw on the attempted double play skipped past Allen first baseman Chase Shires.
Roff (22-5) added two more runs in the second on Parker’s homer to also score Glenn Cornell (who reached on a fielder’s choice), then, after Parker struck out the side in the bottom of the inning, Allen erupted for three runs in the third to make a game of it.
Parker hit nine-hole hitter Brenton Lewis leading off the third, then Colbert lined a 2-0 fastball over the fence in left to cut the Roff lead in half. Postoak followed with a double down the right field line, he stole third (one of his three steals in the Mustangs’ two games Monday), and — after Parker struck out Harrington and Stephens — scored on a passed ball.
Corby King followed with a single, but Shires tapped back to the mound for the third out, and Parker went on to retire 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
Postoak got some defensive help from Lewis — who went back to the fence to snag Parker’s screaming liner to right for the final out after Cornell had walked — to hold Roff scoreless in the fourth, but the junior righthander surrendered a leadoff infield single to Jason Trimmer and hit Browning with one out before Kile stroked the first pitch he saw just inside the left field foul pole for his fourth homer in four games and a 7-3 lead.
Roff added another run in the sixth, when, after Cornell was hit by a pitch with one out, Parker lined a single to center that was mishandled by Colbert. Cornell raced home with the Tigers’ second unearned run of the game when Colbert’s throw from the outfield was offline and went all the way to the backstop.
Despite what became a relatively easy victory for his club, Simon was impressed with Allen.
“Allen’s one of the top teams in our class,” he said. “They’re going to get to the state tournament.”
Allen 8, Coalgate 7
Coalgate (11-6) rallied from an early 6-2 deficit to take a 7-6 lead on A. J. Acker’s long homer to left in the top of the sixth, but Allen answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning (one of them unearned) to beat a Wildcat team that made several key mental errors and repeatedly failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Colbert — who relieved starter James Jackson in the fourth and got the win despite giving up Acker’s homer — started Allen’s winning rally with an infield single, and Postoak (who put on a bunting display in both of the Mustangs’ contests Monday) laid down a perfect sacrifice that Coalgate starter (and loser) Mitchell Loudermilk fielded and threw into right field.
Both runners advanced on the error and scored when Harrington lined a single to right to chase Loudermilk and bring on reliever Thomas Madden. Harrington moved to second on the throw to the plate and — after Stephens struck out and King popped out to center — stole third, but Madden retired Shires on a ground ball to third to end the inning.
Luke Palmer led off the Coalgate seventh with a single, but he was caught stealing on the next pitch, and Colbert retired Raymond Burns on a foul pop to first and Dakota Spears on a liner to right to end the game.
Palmer was the third straight baserunner thrown out by King in the contest, and the other two would both have scored if those innings had played out the same way.
“Only one of those was a straight steal,” Coalgate coach Phil Wilkinson said of the three failed steal attempts. “One was a hit-and-run, and the last one was supposed to be a (sacrifice) bunt, but I gave the wrong indicator. That one was on me.”
Acker and Aaron Guinn walked leading off the Coalgate third, and Acker scored (with Guinn moving to third) on a Loudermilk single. Loudermilk was then thrown out attempting to steal on the first pitch to Palmer, who eventually walked. Burns followed with a fly ball to left (deep enough to have scored Guinn) for the third out.
Allen came back to score five times in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-2 lead, with the runs scoring on on King’s two-run single, a perfect bases-loaded squeeze bunt by Harrington, a bases-loaded walk to Bulen and a bases-loaded balk by Loudermilk, then Coalgate answered with three runs (two unearned) on only one hit in the fourth and regained the lead with two more in the sixth.
Madden led off the inning with a single and was thrown out attempting to steal second on the first pitch to Dakota Hedgecock, who later reached on an error by Postoak at short. Acker then drilled an 0-1 pitch over the wall in leftto make it 7-6, and the Wildcats had a chance for more later in the inning, when Tagus Horton doubled and went to third on a throwing error by Lewis in right. Colbert retired Loudermilk on a fly ball to left end the inning, however.
“Those are the kind of games that make you mad,” Wilkinson said. “We weren’t focused, but that’s the story of our life this year.”
Roff returns to action Thursday, facing Vici in the first round of the Roff Spring Invitational Tournament, while Coalgate will visit Tishomingo at 4:30 p.m. today and will compete at the Tishomingo Tournament beginning Thursday.
By BOB FORREST