EDMOND — Byng’s Pirates expected to exorcise the demons of their last two trips to the state baseball tournament this spring with a team dominated by a talented core of six seniors and some solid younger players.

But after entering the week as the top seed in Class 4A’s Elite Eight and surviving an upset scare from Marlow in the first round, the Pirates imploded for the third straight season, dropping a 10-0 decision to fourth-ranked Tuttle that was eerily similar to semifinal losses to Oologah last spring and to Dale last fall.

And, considering the expectations of this year’s team, Friday’s loss might have been the biggest horror show of the three.

Tuttle (33-5) used two walks, a hit batter and two Byng errors to score four runs on only one bunt single (and without getting a ball out of the infield) in a four-run third inning, then the Tigers strung together five hits to score five more times in the fifth and ended the game on the run rule on Rance Pride’s two-run single (his third hit of the day).

With the victory, Tuttle moved on to face defending champ Oologah (a 13-2 run-rule winner over Berryhill Friday) for the state title.

His team’s performance — after a season that saw the Pirates (just as they had in the spring and fall of 2005) play solid defense, score runs in bunches and get solid pitching virtually from start to finish — left Byng coach Kevin Wilson at a loss for words.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say to them,” Wilson said as he left the field after his team’s seventh loss in 36 games this spring. “I wasn’t expecting to give this speech. We expected to come up here and play well.”

Byng struggled at the plate early in the Marlow win before scoring runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to escape with a 3-2 victory, but in that win the Pirates got hits when they counted, they were perfect in the field, and Nate Burris tossed a six-hit complete game in his state tournament debut. In addition, they were playing a Tuttle team Friday that they had beaten in impressive fashion during the regular season.

For two innings, Byng ace Cody Wheeler and Tuttle junior right-hander Doug Carel dominated on the mound, and Wheeler (6-3) was still working on a no-hitter when he struck out Grant Glasser leading off the third. But Wheeler walked nine-hole hitter Rodney Williams and leadoff hitter Brett Coffman (after getting ahead, 1-2, in the count on each hitter), and Pride blooped a bunt into no-man’s land between the pitcher’s mound and first base.

Wheeler charged off the mound and first baseman Chad Keefer also went for the ball, and by the time Heath Wall raced all the way from second base to cover first, Pride had beaten Wheeler’s throw, which was offline and trickled into foul territory as Williams scored and Coffman and Pride moved into scoring position. Tyler Henson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, Andrew Ledet followed with a perfect suicide squeeze to score Coffman, and also Pride scored when Wall dropped Wheeler’s throw to first on the bunt.

Wilson then guessed right on a squeeze attempt by five-hole hitter Andrew Harrison and pitched out to trap Henson between third and home. Byng catcher Wyatt Fisher raced toward Henson, who suddenly dropped to the ground and avoided the tag, then he jumped up and scored ahead of Fisher’s throw to make it 4-0.

“Cody went to (1-2) on two straight hitters and walked them both and that got (the third-inning rally) started,” Wilson said. “(Tuttle) put some pressure on us, and we didn’t respond.”

Wheeler, who struck out nine through four innings, then fanned Harrison and Corey Hawks to end the inning, but another walk — this one a one-out pass to Glasser — led to another Tuttle run in the fourth. Williams struck out looking for the second out of the inning, then Wheeler hit Coffman with a pitch, and Pride blooped a double that landed among three Byng players in shallow center field to score Glasser.

Tuttle ended the game in the fifth, scoring five runs after two men were out. Harrison and Hawk started the rally with one-out singles, Glasser’s two-out single scored Harrison with the first run of the inning, and two more scored on an error by Byng shortstop Ryan Estes on a ground ball by Williams. Coffman followed with a single and stole second, and he and Williams scored on a sharp single to right-center off sophomore Dakota Atkeson to end the game on the run rule.

While Byng’s defense failed for one of the few times all season, the Pirate bats also never got started against Carel, who gave up three singles to Estes and two more to Wall but allowed a baserunner only two other times in the game — Keefer, who walked with two outs in the first and reached on an error to load the bases with two outs in the top of the third.

Preston Petty struck out in the first with runners at first and second, then Coffman probably saved a run in the third with a diving catch on Wheeler’s liner into shallow center. After the defensive gem, Estes and Wall singled and Keefer reached on the error to load the bases, but Petty again struck out to end the threat.

Byng also got back-to-back two-out singles from Estes and Wall in the fifth, but Keefer grounded out to end the inning.

“We just didn’t hit, especially with men in scoring position,” Wilson said. “It’s hard to win if you don’t score runs.”

This Week's Circulars