By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Bates Enmeier struck out two in 41⁄3 innings and forced ground ball after ground ball as the oft-off Plainsman defense turned in its first error-free outing of 2013 to upset the No. 16 Ponca City Wildcats, 6-3, Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
“We kind of fell down in a hole,” said Enmeier, whose performance helped end a four-game losing streak. “We needed this one pretty bad. It was a good win for us.”
Enid raced to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, following an in-order top of the first by Enmeier, with a two-run single by Zeke Sarver and an RBI apiece from Cole Floyd and Tanner Fore. Ponca City starter Cash Young lasted just one-third of an inning after allowing a hit and three walks. The short outing was enough to take the loss as all four runners credited to Young (1-1) crossed the plate, three of them earned.
After another 1-2-3 frame in the top of the second by Enmeier, Shaun Spring scored on an error in the bottom half.
Then came the trouble.
Enmeier allowed two singles and a walk to start the third, and another hit plated Joey Furber to put Ponca City on the board and within 5-1. With the bases loaded and no outs, sophomore Braden Rogers made the biggest defensive play on a day the Plainsmen needed many, scooping a scorched grounder at third base, stepping on his bag and completing a double play on a strong throw to declaw Ponca City’s most dangerous rally. Enmeier took advantage and struck out Josh Evans to end the inning.
“It was pretty nice to not have any errors,” said Enmeier, now 2-3 on the mound. “(That was) a big play by Braden Rogers. That made a big difference, that double play at third.”
“When people make big plays, we all feel the energy that comes from the hype of making that big play,” said shortstop Zayne Herbal, who proved as much with three assists, including a backhand snare in the sixth. “When somebody makes one, it makes the other person want to make one.”
Freshman Jonny Chavez replaced Enmeier on the mound in the fifth after a pair of walks and retired the final two of the frame and the first two of the sixth before surrendering a towering, wind-aided home run to right field by Case Jenkins, and a double to Furber, the first two hits allowed by Chavez in his varsity career.
Cole Floyd replaced Chavez to tally the final four outs, two by strikeout, to record the Plainsmen’s first save of the season, one insured by a Spring RBI groundout to score Hunter Childs in the bottom of the sixth.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Enid, the most recent a 3-1 defeat to Ponca City (15-7, 5-6 6A-4) on Monday, the first half of the district 6A-4 foes’ home and home set. Ponca City’s loss was its first since March 20, ending a run of 11 straight games without a defeat (10-0-1).
The Plainsmen (8-14, 3-7 in 6A-4) earned their third win against opponents ranked in 6A’s top 20 in the OKRankings.com coaches’ poll. Enid was ranked 30th of 32 teams in 6A according to the newest poll released Tuesday morning.
“As a team, we were kind of laughing that we were ranked 30th out of 32 teams,” Mayberry said. “It’s kind of funny to us, because we have other plans.”
Enid plays its first of four games in the Stillwater Invitational Tournament at noon Thursday against the ninth-ranked host Pioneers. The Plainsmen, the only unranked team in the field, continue at 7:30 p.m. Friday against No. 19 Muskogee, followed by a Saturday doubleheader against No. 11 Midwest City and No. 13 Mustang at 1 p.m.