ROFF — Although Roff and Dale are in different classes each spring, their rivalry has grown into one of the best in Oklahoma over the past few years, due in large part to a talented group of seniors who currently dominate each squad.

In Saturday’s championship game of the Roff Spring Invitational Tournament, those seniors met for the last time, and they gave their fans — and departing Dale coach Bruce Throckmorton — a parting gift to remember.

After being dominated for five innings by Dale ace Jared Coon, Roff — ranked No. 1 in Class A — rallied from deficits twice in the final three innings before erupting for for seven runs in the top of the eighth to finally put away the Pirates (No. 1 in Class 2A) 14-7 in a game that featured a clutch relief performance by Carter Browning and contributions from every player in the Roff lineup.

In the third place game, Stonewall ace Bo Scribner pitched a five-inning no-hitter to lead the Longhorns (No. 6 in Class A) to a 9-0 spanking of a Red Oak club (ranked No. 9 in Class B) that was without several of its top players.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Roff 14, Dale 7

Saturday’s title game featured a marquee pitching match-up between Coon (who beat the Tigers in the first round of last fall’s Class A State Tournament and again earlier this season) and Roff’s Dearth Parker, who was coming off a 15-strikeout performance in a win over Allen Monday. Both pitched well for five innings, but each blew a late three-run lead, leaving their supporting cast to provide some late heroics.

Roff (25-5) erased an early 3-0 deficit with six runs in the sixth off a suddenly wild Coon (who surrendered just two singles to Browning in the first five innings but didn’t retire any of the five batters he faced in the sixth) and reliever Jake Duggan, but Dale rallied to chase Parker with four runs in the bottom of the inning — on two-run homers by Jarod Palmer and Caleb Phillips — to take a 7-6 lead to the seventh.

Trevor Nelson came on to try to protect the lead against the bottom of the Roff order in the top of the seventh, but Jo Jo Scott — a versatile senior who has started every game this spring and last fall at second or third base and who has also been Roff’s top reliever — spoiled the strategy with a line-drive leadoff home run that just cleared the fence in left to tie the game.

“I was just trying to get on base,” Scott said after scoring in each of the last three innings. “He (Nelson) threw me two straight fast balls, and I just got the second one up in the air and the wind carried it.”

“Jo Jo gets big hits,” Roff coach Ead Simon said after winning the spring tournament for the first time in three tries as the Tigers’ head man. “He’s a little bit of an unsung hero for us, and he’s the kind of glue that holds us together. He might not be as talented as some of our stars, but he makes plays.”

Browning, meanwhile, relieved Parker after Phillips’ blast over the left field fence gave Dale (20-6) its last lead of the game and struck out Pirate clean-up hitter Zeke Melton on five pitches. A 6-4 righthander who moved to Roff from Ada last year, Browning then pitched the final two innings and allowed only two walks while facing every batter in the rugged Dale lineup to earn his seventh win in eight decisions this spring.

“Carter wanted the baseball,” Simon said. “Dearth had earned the right to be in that spot and start the game. My gut told me to take him out a batter earlier, but Dearth had earned the right to try to get the through the inning.

“Carter just gets better every time he goes out there,” Simon added. “He just needs to be out there in pressure situations. His stuff is great, and he wanted the baseball today.”

Browning worked out out of a jam of his own making in the bottom of the seventh, when, after issuing a leadoff walk to Nelson and a one-out pass to Barry Manship, he struck out Palmer and Eric Worley to end the inning. Then, after Roff scored seven times in the top of the eighth, Browning retired the top of the Dale order — Beau Carter (who had doubled twice in four trips), Coon (who homered in the second inning) and Phillips (who had two homers and a single in his first three at-bats) on 11 pitches in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

“I thought Dearth would go the whole way once we got the lead,” Browning said. “When Coon came out, I knew we could light up their other pitchers. It’s easy to throw when you have a seven-run lead.”

C. J. Stewart started Roff’s eighth-inning outburst with a leadoff homer to center, then, after Browning was hit by a pitch, Atlee Kile lined a two-run homer to left to make it 10-7. Scott followed with a double to right-center to chase Nelson, and Logan Lomas drew a walk off Worley, the final Dale pitcher. After Daniel Boss popped up a bunt attempt for the first out, Glenn Cornell hit a long homer to left to make it 13-7, and doubles by Parker and Stewart accounted for the final run of the marathon three-hour contest.

Back-to-back homers by Coon (a two-run shot to also score Carter, who had doubled) and Phillips in the bottom of the third staked Coon to a 3-0 lead. After Browning’s wind-blown double ignited a six-run Roff sixth that featured bases-loaded RBI walks to Lomas and Boss and Parker’s two-run go-ahead single that bounced over the head of Manship at third base, the homers by Palmer and Phillips put the Pirates back in front until Scott’s clutch leadoff homer in the seventh again changed the momentum.

THIRD PLACE

Stonewall 9, Red Oak 0

Scribner allowed only a one-out walk to Dalton Fezekas in the third and a leadoff walk to Ryan Rutledge in the fifth, and he struck out six batters and had a pair of hits to help Stonewall — a winner Class B No. 1 Lookeba-Sickles Thursday — to its 14th win in 23 games this spring.

The Longhorns scored three times in the first on singles by J. P. Maples and Scribner, a walk to Nick Skokos and a two-run single by Ryan Denson, and they made it 6-0 with three more runs in the second. Wendell Taylor reached on an error leading off the inning, Jared Pharr walked, Maples drove in a run with a one-out infield hit, and Skokos plated two more with a two-out single to right.

Stonewall scored three more runs in the fourth, with a two-run single by Brandon Ross the big blow, and Scribner faced just four batters in the top of the fifth, striking out Fazekas looking at a fastball to end the game on the run rule.

Roff returns to action Monday with games against Dickson (3 p.m.) and Madill (5 p.m.) at the Dickson Festival, while Stoneweall will travel to Colbert for a game at 3 p.m. Monday. Both teams open the Class A playoffs Thursday, with both hosting district tournaments.