The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 10, 2013

NOC Enid splits as bats quiet in nightcap

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The boys of summer felt the chill of winter during Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s opening baseball doubleheader of the season Saturday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

But while the games were played in winter-like conditions (42 degrees with a 20 mile-per-hour wind), the old baseball clichés were as warm as a windless 100-degree Fourth-of-July doubleheader.

The Jets took advantage of five walks and a two-RBI double and a two-RBI single by Chase Knott in scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the opener, 8-5.

The visiting T-Birds were unable to take advantage of nine walks and two hit batsmen in leaving 14 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the second, third and sixth innings.

Cloud County’s Zach Demars and Aaric Woodyard combined for a three-hitter in shutting the Jets out in the nightcap, 2-0. Demars struck out two and walked seven in six innings, while reliever Woodyard had two strikeouts in a retiring NOC Enid in order.

“We did OK for two games,’’ said Jets coach Raydon Leaton. “They got a good ballclub over there. We’ll get after it again tomorrow (1 p.m. today at David Allen Memorial Ballpark).

The Jets, 1-1, freshman Matt Kennewell in the opener and Enid redshirt sophomore Christian Lafontan in the nightcap.

NOC Enid’s Zach Bradford and Austin Hilton combined for 10 strikeouts — six by Bradford over four innings and four by Hilton over three in the second game, but it wasn’t good enough to overcome a lack of hitting.

The Jets only got one runner to third — designated hitter Rowdy Dove, who was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second when T-Birds shortstop Woodyard overthrew second on a force play.

NOC Enid left four runners on second.

Bradford and Hilton issued only one walk.

“They deserved better,’’ Leaton said. “When you throw strikes, it gives you a chance to win the game. You know we’re going to play good defense.’’

Cloud Center scored in the first when Chase Reiberspiers tripled and scored on a single by Jesse Rall. Rall doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Woodyard.

“It was a well-played game, but they played better than we did,’’ Leaton said. “They got guys in scoring position and got them in. We got guys in scoring position and we couldn’t get the big hit. It’s just one of those things.’’

In the opener, Jets starter Hayden James left in the third after issuing seven walks. He walked the first three batters in the third, all of whom scored which gave the T-Birds a 4-1 lead.

Reliever John Chidester bent but didn’t break to keep the Jets in the game. He gave up five hits and hit two batters over three and two-thirds innings, but struck out five.

He got out of bases-loaded jams in the third and sixth and left two runners on in the fourth and fifth.

The Jets cut the lead to 4-3 with two runs in the third with Shattuck’s Aaron McCandless doubling home Ross Colger, who had reached on an error and Knott, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

The lead stood up until the sixth when the T-Birds bullpen couldn’t find the plate.

Brendan Hardaway departed after walking the bases load. Keaton Webb grounded out to bring in Korbin Polston with the tying run. Dyce Applegate was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Turner doubled off Tyler Keller to score A.J. Wilson and Kyle Callahan with the go-ahead runs. Colger was intentionally walked to set up a force, but Knott spoiled that strategy with a two-RBI single.

“We were able to get to their bullpen and get some big hits,’’ Leaton said. “We had lot of guys come through for us.’’

Closer Kevin Royer allowed a run in the seventh, thanks to an walk and an error. However, he struck out Jason Cain and Rall to end the game.

NOC Enid had opened the scoring in the first when Knott doubled and scored when McCandless reached on an error.