By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The Enid Minors’ season is over.
The Southmoore SaberCats took a first-inning lead and never lost it, holding the Minors to three hits for the second game in as many days Friday at the Connie Mack State Tournament and eliminating Enid, 7-1.
The Minors finished the season with an overall record of 20-30.
Southmoore shortstop Jared Ledbetter reached on a bunt single to open the game, and after teammate Colton Huggard was hit by a pitch two at-bats later, Blaze Shein followed with a double off the left-field wall, scoring Ledbetter and Huggard to put the SaberCats up 2-0.
Enid was in prime position to answer and perhaps take a lead of its own in the bottom of the first with Tanner Lingenfelter at third and Jonny Chavez at second with no outs. Hunter Childs bunted, but only Chavez tried to advance, hanging up the Enid sophomore-to-be between second and third. Lingenfelter started toward home after noticing Chavez, but was caught, making for a safe advance to third by Chavez, but leaving the Minors with two outs and a runner at third.
Enmeier singled in Chavez to cut the early Southmoore lead in half, but the Minors didn’t score again. The Minors had a pair of two-out singles in the second, but Lingenfelter grounded out to end the rally, and Enid was held hitless for the remaining five frames, an offensive struggle reminiscent to the Minors’ loss one day earlier, when they had only one hit after the third inning in a 1-0 loss to the Woodward Travelers.
“If we had our offense like we usually do, if we hit the ball, we’re good,” Chavez said. “But coming off that loss yesterday, I don’t think we were really ready for it.”
“Six hits in two games, we can swing it better than that,” Enid coach Seth Sturgeon said. “Our approaches weren’t bad, we just weren’t hitting that ball, and sometimes that happens. It just happened to be in the state tournament and end our season.”
Southmoore loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batsmen in the fourth to chase Minors starter Ty Golay, who took the loss. Reliever Bobby Russell couldn’t keep the lead at one, allowing RBI singles from Ledbetter and Huggard to give the SaberCats a 6-1 lead and put the game out of reach.
“Today our pitching didn’t hold up,” Sturgeon said. “We gave up eight hits and seven runs and (Southmoore) had timely hitting … They broke the game open a little bit, and with wood bats, a five-run lead, that’s like eight or 10. That’s hard to come back from.”
The SaberCats added one more run to ensure the Minors’ season-ending loss, closing a campaign that started with six straight losses and had a mid-season, nine-game losing run, but had started to trend upward, with Enid rebounding to a 5-4 final stretch.
“The way we played yesterday, we weren’t expecting back-to-back losses, for sure,” Chavez said.
“It was tough, but at the end of the season, they did pick up on a lot of the things we were trying to teach them, and they were playing good baseball at the end of the year,” Sturgeon said. “That’s all we can ask for.”
Southmoore (25-7) will play in a second consecutive elimination game at 9:30 a.m. today against the Cleveland County Boomers, who ousted the OKC Drillers 5-4.