By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Jerry Kearney held off the flood in the first, and Bates Enmeier did the same in the second, but the dam broke in the third inning as No. 3 Yukon’s potent offense found its swing to the tune of nine runs, washing away a 3-0 Enid lead and later the Plainsmen altogether in Saturday’s Gladys Winters Tournament championship game.
The MLB-prospect-powered Millers didn’t trail after the third, beating tournament host and runner-up Enid 15-4 by run rule after the fifth inning.
The loss spoiled another fast start by the Plainsmen, who had outscored opponents 26-1 in the previous six games.
Jake Walker singled to left, Christian Voitik drew a walk and Shaun Spring reached on a bunt single to open the bottom of the first. Cole Floyd scored Walker on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Brayden Rogers plated Voitik and Spring with a single on the next at bat.
Kearney started for the Plainsmen on short rest, having toed the mound for Enid’s upset win against ninth-ranked Stillwater on Thursday. Kearney left that start after pitching three innings when a line drive hit the senior in the shin.
He held off Yukon’s lineup through one inning, walking leadoff hitter Will Pickens to open the game, but retiring the next three.
Kearney’s control worsened in the second.
After the Plainsmen committed two errors on one play to start the frame, Kearney retired two in the inning, but was relieved by Enmeier after walking the bases loaded. Enmeier forced Brandyn Meyer to ground out to wiggle out of the jam, but was quickly back in trouble in the third.
A second straight two-error play put led off the inning to put University of Arkansas commit and potential first-round MLB draft pick Jon Denney at third. Landon Eason followed with an RBI single, and the rest of the Miller order followed suit, piling up nine runs on eight hits, two errors and a walk in the frame.
Enmeier surrendered five of them, including a two-run home run by Benge that gave Yukon a 4-3 lead that would only grow over the next two innings.
“The plan was (to pitch) Enmeier because of all those left handers over there,” Mayberry said of the left-handed Enmeier, who successfully escaped from similar jams in Enid’s win against Stillwater. “He just got the ball up today. You don’t know why that happens. You’re not trying to trhow it up in the strike zone, but it just stays up there, and they’ve got the kind of hitters that make you pay when that happens.”
Zeke Sarver, Alec Elliot and Tanner Fore also pitched, and only Fore kept Yukon off the scoreboard.
Enid could only answer with one run in the bottom of the third on Rogers’ third RBI of the night, but never came closer than 10-4, a gap that widened with the help of eight Plainsmen walks and six errors.
“Errors and walks are accentuated by the value of the play that you’re trying to make,” Mayberry said. “When you’re in a tournament championship, the value of that play goes up. When you get in the postseason, it really goes up, and if you get into championship play, it goes up some more … When we make a pitch, and we get a play that we can make, we need to make it.”
The loss caps a six-game run that saw Enid upset two ranked teams and more than double its win total. The Plainsmen swept U.S. Grant in a Tuesday doubleheader before beating No. 9 Stillwater and No. 14 Putnam City North in the Gladys Winters Tournament, a field that had Enid as the only team outside the top 14.
“We’ve said what a quality field we have in our tournament,” Mayberry said. “The fact that we were playing for the championship, I was proud of our guys.”
Yukon (14-4) ran roughshod for the majority of the three-day event, winning all four games by a margin of 46-8 and being challenged only once, a 5-4 win against No. 5 Tulsa Union earlier Saturday.
The Plainsmen, now 7-11, visit Edmond Memorial for a game 6 p.m. Thursday before a run of four straight District 6A-4 games — two apiece in home-and home sets against No. 7 Sand Springs and Ponca City
. Enid’s next home game is 6 p.m. Friday against Sand Springs.