Jeff Cali Sports Editor
The Ada News
The second-ranked Byng Pirates found themselves in the driver’s seat after the first day of play at the Class 4A Regional Tournament at Stokes Field. But it sure wasn’t easy.
The Pirates survived a 3-2, eight-inning scare from Broken Bow in a tense first-round matchup before holding off upset-minded Madill 10-6 in a winner’s bracket showdown.
Madill had advanced with a narrow 2-1 upset win over No. 15 Ada in another tight regional contest.
The Cougars knocked out Broken Bow 6-1 in Thursday’s late elimination game behind a solid complete-game pitching performance by ace Jordan Boone.
Today’s schedule has Ada meeting Madill in another loser’s bracket contest at noon with host Byng awaiting the winner in the 2 p.m. championship game. An if-necessary game would be played at noon on Saturday.
“I knew it was going to be a tough regional,” Byng head coach Shawn Streater said of the close contests on Thursday. “ It’s just who’s going to be lucky and not beat themselves. Fortunately, the first two games we weren’t the ones who beat ourselves.”
While happy to be in the championship game, Streater said the Pirates’ work isn’t done.
“We still haven’t won anything. We still have to come back and compete tomorrow,” he said.
Byng 10, Madill 6
Byng led just 7-6 heading into the seventh but added three late insurance runs. Kiyaanii Bohan hit an RBI single in the inning and Reid Wall added a sacrifice fly.
Wall entered the game in relief in the bottom of the sixth and after walking nine-hole hitter Hunter Chapa, retired the final six batters he faced — including striking out two Madill batters in the seventh.
“Reid came in and did a good job and kind of shut their water off a little bit,” Streater said.
Byng scored four runs in the top of the first thanks in part to three Madill errors (Andre Davis had the only run-scoring hit), but the Wildcats got two back in the bottom half of the inning via a wild pitch and an RBI single by Boo Escobedo.
Davis added another RBI hit in the top of the third, but Joe Avery hit a solo home in the bottom half to trim the Byng lead to 5-3.
Byng catcher Joe Nemecek ripped a two-out, two-run double in the fourth to make it 7-3, but Madill again answered. The Wildcats bunched together five hits in the bottom of the fifth, including a two-run single by Escobedo and an RBI hit by Jim Southerland that got Madill to within 7-6.
“They battled back. They did a good job of capitalizing on some stuff. I’m proud of my kids for battling back and extending the lead again,” Streater said.
Wall finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored while Davis and Bohan also had two hits each for the hosts.
Jake Vinson, Escobedo and Avery all had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
Byng 3, Broken Bow 2
Jake Scroggins started Byng’s half of the eighth by drawing a one-out walk. Broken Bow coach Tony Battles opted to intentionally walk Cody Williams, who had already had two hits. Nemecek — who had three of Byng’s eight hits — foiled that plan by stroking a line drive to left field for a walkoff RBI single.
Byng scored in the bottom of the first when Jake Scroggins lifted a double to center field and raced home on an RBI hit by Williams.
Broken Bow tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth without the aid of a hit. Zac Smith walked, was sacrificed to second by Halen George, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
Byng grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Matt Wescott reached on an infield hit, went to second on an error advanced to third on a fly ball by Wall and scored on a wild pitch. Broken Bow catcher Jake Magar hustled to the ball and threw back to his battery mate, Neal, and nearly recorded the out, but Wall was called safe during the close play.
The Savages tied the game at 2-all with a run in the top of the sixth via a two-out rally. After two strikeouts by winning pitcher Jake Wellington, Hunter Neal and Yukpa Bates recorded back to back singles (Broken Bow’s first two hits of the game). Neal would later score on a Byng error.
“We made some mistakes and probably should have won it in regulation if we don’t make those. We found a way to win. At this point in the year, that’s all that matters,” Streater said.
Wellington would dominate the Broken Bow lineup, scattering just three hits while striking out 12 in the strong complete-game outing.
“Jake did a good job. He went all eight innings for us, got the win and kept them off balance,” Streater said.
Madill 2, Ada 1
The Cougars gift-wrapped Madill’s first run in the top of the second. Boo Escobedo went all the way to second on a one-out error, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Joe Avery’s sacrifice fly to right field to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. It looked like Ada right fielder Scott Johnson may have a chance to throw Escobedo out at the plate, but his throw was cut off.
“We made mistakes that gives them their two runs. That’s kind of the name of the game. You have to make plays when you need to and we didn’t do that today,” Burch said.
Ada tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third. Jake Boone drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on Tim Simpson’s clutch two-out base hit to left field.
The Wildcats scored what turned out to be the game-winner when Gabe Goff walked to lead off the fourth, stole second. Madill loaded the bases on Joe Avery hit and a walk to Shelby Salyer. Nine-hole hitter Hunter Chapa then hit a clutch RBI single to center but Ada outfielder Mason Girdley threw Avery out trying to score from second to help the Cougars avoid further damage.
Girdley led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit, but was doubled up when Easton Pingleton popped up to Madill first baseman Avery, who stepped on the bag well before Ada runner could get back.
From that point on, Madill hurler Goff retired 10 of the final 11 Cougar hitters he faced (he hit Pingleton with one out in the seventh).
Cody Johnson absorbed the hard-luck loss for the Cougars, allowing just three base hits while walking two and hitting two more.
“I thought Cody threw well enough for a win,” Birch said.
Ada also managed just three hits — singles by Simpson, Cody Johnson and Girdley.
Ada 6, Broken Bow 1
Boone allowed just two hits but also had to survive seven walks. He walked the bases loaded to start the bottom of the seventh, but got Halen George to ground out back to the mound that resulted in a 1-3-2 double play. Hunter Neal then hit a ground ball to first base for the final out of the game.
Cody Johnson had an RBI hit in the bottom of the first and he came around to score on a wild pitch to give Ada a quick 2-0 lead.
Scott Johnson blasted a two-run homer in a three-run Ada third inning to push the Cougar advantage to 5-0.
Broken Bow scored it lone run in the bottom of the fourth after Neal double to lead off and raced home on a base hit by Sean Gentry. The Savages still had runners at first and second with one out at that point, but Boone got out of that jam with back-to-back strikeouts.
Ada added an insurance run in the fifth when Broken Bow reliever Neal beaned Cody Johnson, who advanced to third on a Girdley double and scored (for the third time in the game) on an RBI hit by Pingleton.
Jordan Boone helped his own cause with a 2-for-4 showing while Cody Johnson also had two hits to go with his three runs scored.
Ada recorded four double plays in the contest.