EDMOND — Veteran Bat 17-Under scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Enid Plainsmen, 7-6 Saturday in the winners bracket finals of the Big Fire Central Sectional at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The Plainsmen will face the 918 River Rats 18-Under Cordle at 9:30 a.m. in the losers bracket finals Sunday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark. The winner faces Veteran Bat for the championship at 2:30 p.m.

The game went into a tiebreaker after the two teams were tied 5-5 at the two-hour time limit.

In the tiebreaker rules, the inning opens with the bases loaded and one out.

Garrett Shull scored from third for Enid when Jake Kennedy reached on an error. Bennett Percival forced Dallas Goodpasture at home and James Humphrey struck out to the end inning.

Veteran Bat tied the game when Kyle Miller reached on a fielder’s choice. He hit the ball to shortstop Aidan Kennedy, whose throw to second wasn’t in time to get Carson Cooksey at second. Teddy Amaros was hit by a pitch to end the game.

“We got the ground ball that we wanted, it just found a little hole,” said Enid coach Brad Gore. “I’m proud of our guys for fighting back (from a 4-1 and a 5-3 deficit). They didn’t give up. I’m proud of them.”

Enid reliever Cooper Jarnigan did not allow a hit for three and one third innings in regulation. Veteran Bat got a run off him in the fourth thanks to an error, two hit batsmen and a walk. The winners had only four hits, one of them being a three-run homer by Tate Dome of Laverne after back-to-back singles in the third.

“Cooper did a real good job in relief,” Gore said. “We just walked too many people (six, including a bases-loaded walk in the first to Mason Holding) and gave them too many opportunities.”

The Plainsmen had taken a 1-0 lead in the first when Karter Simon doubled home courtesy runner Goodpasture on a double that bounced over the head of center fielder Amaros.

Enid was able to come back thanks to effective small ball.

Humphrey and Israel Gonzales singled in the fourth to put runners on first and third. Starting pitcher Grayson Barnes overthrew first on a sacrifice attempt by Brock Slater which scored Humphrey. Gonzales scored after a walk to Shull and a sac fly by McCage Hartling.

Enid had tied the game in the fifth with the same strategy. Jake Kennedy singled and Percival was hit by a pitch. Barnes overthrew first on a bunt by Humphrey that scored Kennedy and Percival to make it 5-5. Humphrey was picked off third for the first out. Gonzales struck out and Slater flew out to end the threat.

With the time limit looming, Shull and Goodpasture were thrown out trying to steal second in the sixth by catcher Kaden Manuel of Seiling.

“We laid down some bunts and were able to put a little pressure on them,” Gore said. “We swing through a pitch on purpose and a guy gets thrown out. I have to do a better job of coaching. Sometimes a split-second hesitation can cost you a couple of runs. This is a part of the learning experience which will get us better for spring.”

Gore is not sure who he will pitch against the River Rats, who Enid beat, 4-0, in pool play Thursday behind a no-hitter by Gonzales and Seth Carlson.

The River Rats beat Murder Row 17-Under, 6-2 and Warriors 18-Under Brown, 8-5 on Saturday. Murder Row had earlier eliminated Red Dirt of Stillwater, 7-1.

Veteran Bat outlasted the River Rats, 7-6 on Friday.

“They have a good club,” Gore said of the River Rats, located out of Tahlequah. “They played them (Veterans Bat) down to the wire. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”

Sunday morning’s game can be heard on 1390 KCRC.

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Campbell is a former sports writer and current part-time writer for the News & Eagle.

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Graduate of Oklahoma City John Marshall (1972) and University of Oklahoma. Been at News & Eagle since June 19, 1978. Previously worked at Oklahoma Journal, Midland, Texas Reporter & Telegram, Norman Transcript, Elk City Daily News

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