BYNG — The Ada and Byng baseball teams have had some memorable matchups over the years, and Monday night’s District 4A-3 doubleheader at Stokes Field didn’t disappoint.
With a home playoff game on the line, the Cougars clipped Byng 6-3 in a 10-inning marathon in the opener, only to see the Pirates storm back with a 13-2 victory in Game 2.
It was a nearly a seven-hour roller-coaster ride for both teams that featured some good baseball, some ragged baseball and a sick umpire who delayed the second contest for around 20 minutes.
“I think this was the oddest night of baseball I’ve ever been a part of,” said Byng head coach Chad Colbert.
“It was kind of a circus,” echoed Ada head coach Dino Rosato.
The split didn’t affect the 4A-3 standings one bit. Ada needed to sweep the Pirates to steal a home Bi-District contest away from them. The Cougars gave themselves a chance by overcoming BHS ace Nolan Feazle and winning the opener, but they ran out of steam late in Byng’s Game 2 runaway.
Byng is now 18-9 overall and 7-5 in the district, while Ada is 16-15 and 5-7. Byng is in the third spot behind Blanchard (12-0) and Plainview (10-2), while the Cougars are fifth, just behind Sulphur, which finished with an identical 5-7 district mark but swept Ada in the teams’ head-to-head meetings.
The Pirates will now host Bethel at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a Bi-District matchup to see who advances to regional play. Ada travels to Tecumseh at 3 p.m. Thursday for its best-of-three Bi-District series.
Ada 6, Byng 3
The first game was high drama throughout.
Byng broke a scoreless deadlock when Nolan Feazle singled, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out infield hit by Carson Capps that put the hosts on top 1-0.
Feazle shut out Ada through four innings before giving way to reliever Brylen Janda in the top of the fifth. Feazle struck out six and didn’t allow a hit in his hot start.
John David Muse started the fifth inning off with a base hit and went to second on a wild pitch. After Janda recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Bo Charboneau walked and Zac Carroll followed with a run-scoring hit that tied the game at 1-1.
Ada got another run in the top of the sixth.
Janda walked Manny LaValley to start that frame, and Jaycob Gray followed with a single up the middle. A groundout moved the runners up, and LaValley scored when Muse hit a ball to Feazle at shortstop — who thought about trying to get the runner at home before recording the out at first at the last second — to put Ada ahead 2-1.
The Cougars were three outs away from ending the game in regulation before Byng mounted a rally against Ada starter Trey Havens, who kept the Byng bats in check in a strong, complete-game effort.
Parker Presley led off the seventh with a base hit to right field and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ashton Zilem. Collin O’Grady reached on an infield hit to put runners at the corners. Trenton Shaw then delivered an RBI double that tied the game at 2-2.
Ada got out of the jam without further damage when O’Grady got caught between third and home after a botched squeeze play, and Tyler Bargas grounded out.
There was no score from either team in the eighth or ninth innings. Feazle returned to the mound in the top of the ninth for Byng and pitched a 1-2-3 frame.
The Cougars broke the game open with four runs in the top of the 10th.
Ryan Hagar was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and Bo Charboneau followed with an infield hit. Zac Carroll then singled to center field to load the bases.
Two runs scored on an ill-timed Byng error to put the Cougars on top 4-2.
Manny LaValley drove home a run with an RBI hit and another run scored on a wild pitch to push the AHS advantage to 6-2.
Byng made some noise in the bottom of the 10th after Ada reliever Hunter Condon recorded two quick outs.
Trae Lowe singled, and Carson Capps and Parker Presley walked to load the bases.
Ashton Zilem drove in a run on a base hit to trim the Ada lead to 6-3, but O’Grady flew out to center field to end the game.
“The boys played hard. It was a lot of fun,” Rosato said of the Game 1 win. “We executed really well in Game 1. Trey gave us a chance and pitched really well. Condon came in and kept us where we needed to be. Eventually, our bats woke up a little bit, and we strung some runs across the board and came up with a big win. It gave us a chance to host that first round of the Bi-District.”
O’Grady (2-for-6) and Zilem (2-for-4) were the only two Byng players with more than one hit. Carroll finished 2-for-5 for the Cougars.
Havens and Condon combined for six strikeouts and five walks in the 10-inning affair.
“We had a tough time getting things going in the first game. They did a good job of keeping our hitters off balance,” Colbert said.
Feazle, Janda, Capps and O’Gray teamed up for 10 strikeouts, two walks and four earned runs for the hosts.
Byng 13, Ada 2
The Pirates finally wrapped up their home playoff game and sent Ada to Tecumseh, but not before things got a little strange.
Apparently, home plate umpire Steve Tilley became ill and asked Byng officials if they could find someone to replace him.
They did, and finally an official from Seminole made his way onto Stokes Field moments after Byng had grabbed a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the third inning.
But after a lengthy meeting between coaches and umpires, Rosato and the Ada coaching staff protested the suggested change behind the plate. At that point, the Seminole official left.
Administrators from both schools met outside the playing field to discuss the situation further and eventually asked Tilley if he would mind trying to finish the contest. He agreed (and toughed it out) and, after around a 20-minute delay, play resumed.
The Pirates broke open the game with a four-run outburst in the top of the fifth and scored five runs in the top of the seventh to seal the outcome.
Byng compiled 12 hits in the game, including a 3-for-5 outing by Trae Lowe. He also scored two runs. Parker Presley went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Seth Brecheen finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Trenton Shaw also had two hits, and an RBI, scored once and added three stolen bases, while Nolan Feazle went 1-for-4 with a double and scored twice.
Ada managed just four hits off Byng pitchers Gage Fuller and Trae Lowe. Fuller struck out seven, walked three and didn’t allow a hit in three innings. Lowe struck out three, walked two and didn’t give up an earned run over the final four frames.
Both teams committed four errors apiece in the nightcap.
Zac Carroll finished 1-for-2 and scored two runs, while Jaycob Gray and Braden Maloy each hit doubles.
“There were so many things throughout the night, like the umpire situation, that threw kinks in the situation and made things tougher than they probably should have been,” Colbert said. “Going extra innings made it tough to come back for that second game. But we preach mental toughness, and I like the way our guys responded. (A home game) can be a big thing in the playoffs, for sure.”
Although the Cougars settled for the split, Rosato liked what he saw from his team against a team the caliber of Byng.
“We’ve shown at different points in the season, like tonight, how good we can be. I’m proud of the way they came out and competed tonight. It’s been a rough couple of weeks because we’ve been on the road a lot,” Rosato said. “I’m really proud of the way they played for me this year, especially for such a young group. I can’t wait to see how they perform in the playoffs.”