By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
ENID, Okla. —
If a state tournament berth wasn’t enough to have on the line, there should plenty now.
No. 11 Cashion forced a second game for a Class A regional title on a rainy Friday evening against top-seeded tournament host and No. 8 Pioneer with a walk-off, 10-0 run-rule victory, but the end of the game was nearly the start of a brawl.
Cashion entered the bottom of the fifth inning up 7-0 and after hits by Logan Ikerd and Nate Lee and an RBI single from Grant Quast, the Wildcats were up 8-0 with the run-rule game-winning run — Quast — on second. Dakota Fink lined Sage Lamunyon’s pitch back through the middle of the infield, scoring Lee, and Quast was waved around third.
The throw from Pioneer’s Deiondre McKinney brought catcher Aaron Chain up the third-base line, where he collided with Quast as the throw fell short.
Chain and Quast exchanged shoves after the play, emptying both dugouts, but order was restored before any more physical altercations.
The game’s umpires briefly conferred near home plate before awarding the game-winning run. Intentional collisions at home plate — a baserunner “bowling over” a catcher — is illegal by high school rule, but crew chief Montey Dauphin determined that the rule didn’t apply to the collision between Quast and Chain.
“He said he didn’t throw (Quast) out of the game or call him out because we didn’t have the baseball,” Pioneer coach Dave Riesen said. “I don’t really agree with that, but that had no bearing on the game. (Dauphin’s) interpretation is that (Chain) had to have the baseball, my interpretation is that you can’t lower your shoulder and run over someone, but for the best of the game, it’s probably best that they don’t always listen to my interpretations.”
Quast insisted he didn’t intend to harm Chain, but admitted the game-ending play brought more intrigue for the regional championship between Pioneer and Cashion at 1 p.m. today on the same field.
“I didn’t have any intention of hurting him or anything like that,” Quast said. “I mean, I knew that was the winning run for us to run-rule them. I had intentions of jumping over him, when he jumped up, I was gonna slide under him, but he was right in the way. There’s no hard feelings. I’m not trying to cheap shot him, I just came out to win a baseball game. I’m sure it’s going to be a big rivalry (today). That’s a big game.”
Both teams agreed the post-game handshake could wait until after today’s game in the hopes that tempers wouldn’t flare again, and the two teams huddled almost the entire field apart, with Pioneer near the left-field wall and Cashion in the opposite dugout.
The game-ending fireworks overshadowed a complete-game shutout from Cashion pitcher Ty Reasnor. Reasnor struck out the first five batters he faced, all of them swinging, and finished with 10 punchouts. Reasnor allowed three baserunners — one one a walk and two on base hits — stranding all three.
“I like the mound here,” said Reasnor, who rarely took more than 10 seconds between pitches. “I was feeling good, and I got in a groove and started slicing.”
“He’s a tough guy to face, but he’s hittable,” said Pioneer’s Carter Postier.
He’ll have to be — Reasnor will start again today for Cashion with the regional title at stake.
Cashion took a 4-0 lead after the first inning, scoring two unearned runs on two of the Mustangs’ six errors in the game and chasing starter Blake Gabriel after one frame.
Gabriel (6-3) took the loss, walking two and striking out two, but was pulled to stay fresh for today’s game, Riesen said.
Cashion added three more in the fourth to set up the game-winning fifth inning. Pioneer never challenged the Wildcats’ lead, failing to advance any of its three baserunners into scoring position.
Fink finished 2-for-3 with three RBI, and catcher Peyton Maroney went 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored for Cashion (22-7). Gabriel and Jake Mercado tallied Pioneer’s only hits in the loss, which dropped the Mustangs to 26-11.