David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

OOLOGAH - Take away a half dozen Vinita errors and a brutal March wind in Wednesday afternoon’s opening round of pool play in the Oologah Invitational, and Jay’s Cory Stiefel was still almost more than enough for the Hornets.  Scattering four hits over his complete game outing, the Bulldog hurler also accounted for a pair of runs scored as his team rolled to a 9-1 blowout.

With one out in the top of the first frame, Steifel reached base on the first of Vinita’s bevy of miscues.  Subsequently, the Jay starter scored the game’s first run when Kyle Shambaugh cracked a laser shot triple to the wall.  Bulldog backstop J.J. Meeker put his team on top when he lashed a double, scoring Shambaugh.  But a strong throw from the centerfielder and a semi vertical slide nipped Meeker trying to leg it out to third.  Leading 2-0, Stiefel pitched around his team’s only error to keep the Hornets scoreless.

In the Jay half of the second, Ty Moore started the hit parade with a leadoff single and crossed the plate on a Tyler Buss double.  Buss then advanced to third on a passed ball before scoring on a Chuck Larrabee single.  Larrabee scored when the Vinita right fielder mishandled Stiefel’s win swept flyball.  The Bulldog pitcher scored again on Meeker’s second hit and RBI in as many appearances. 

Trailing 6-0 in the home half of the second, the Hornets got a one-out triple and finally got on the scoreboard when Ethan Ballew redeemed the run with an RBI single.  But Stiefel struck out the next batter to limit the damage to a single tally

Any doubt as to the game’s outcome was put to rest in the top of the fifth when Shambaugh reached on a third base error.  The swift senior then advanced to second with a stolen base and scored on Ty Kay’s base rap.  Kay then swiped second, but had to hold there when Moore’s pop fly fell harmlessly between two Vinita defenders.  Kay and Moore followed with a double steal that put them both in scoring position.  And pinch hitter Choogie Smoke delivered the coup de grace when he slapped a base hit that scored the two runners that culminated into a three run inning.  Steifel kept the Hornets off of the scoreboard for the big eight run victory.

Claremore Sequoyah 3, Jay 2

As if it weren’t enough for them to deal with the unrelenting wind of Rogers County and a big Claremore left hander who consistently nibbled at the outer corner of the plate, the Jay Bulldogs had to overcome a run scoring balk and some bizarre umpiring in the second round of pool play Wednesday night at the Oologah Invitational Tournament.  And to their credit, they almost did.

Countering with their own southpaw, Tyler Buss got the starting nod for the Bulldogs.

In the home half of the first it looked as if Jay might get something going when Cory Stiefel drew a walk and moved up on J.J. Meeker’s two-out hit.  But, using what was jokingly referred to in the press box as a 48 MPH breaking ball, Sequoyah’s Robert Bryant whiffed the next Bulldog batter.  Following a scoreless second, Buss walked the Eagles’ leadoff batter McKaine Foster.  Foster mistakenly tested the arm of Jay’s catcher and Meeker cut him down in stride.  Meeker’s arm might have prevented a run, as Buss yielded a base hit and a hit batsman before escaping the frame. 

In the top of the fourth Claremore’s Derek Hanson led off with a single and eventually moved to third on back to back fielder’s choices.  With two down and runners at the corners, Bryant broke for second at the start of Buss’s windup.  The Bulldog pitcher turned and fired to second base and apparently threw the runner out.  But the pitch was declared a balk, allowing Hanson to trot home with the game’s first score.  Buss was able to get himself out of the inning with no more harm done. 

In the bottom of the inning Jay was able to parlay a pair of Eagle errors and a Ty Moore single to score Meeker and knot things up at one. 

Following a scoreless third came the all-important and controversial top of the fourth.  After fanning the leadoff batter, Buss allowed back to back singles to Seifried and Terry Quinton.  A wild pitch advanced both of the runners that drew a throw to second.  The runner was initially ruled safe, but subsequently stepped off the bag and was tagged, prompting the umpire to call Quinton out.  A timeout ensued and following a long discussion between the two umpires, Quinton was miraculously ruled safe, to the understandable protestations of the Bulldog bench and supporters.   The matter was further exacerbated when cleanup batter Hanson jacked a double that scored both the tying and dubious lead run.  Unshaken, Buss got out of the frame with a come backer and a strikeout. 

In the bottom of the sixth Jay looked to be on the verge of a comeback when Meeker and Ty Kay stroked back to back singles.  Both runners advanced on Moore’s sacrifice bunt.  But Bryant kept the next pair of Bulldog batsman completely off balance to strand the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position. 

After walking the leadoff man to start the seventh Buss mowed down the next three batters with a strikeout and a pair of routine popups.  With two down in their last at bat, the Bulldogs rallied again. 

Stiefel worked Bryant for a walk and crossed the plate when Shambaugh tattooed his second RBI triple of the day.  It looked as if Jay was going to tie things up when Meeker ripped a hot shot to right.  But the wind laid down just long enough for the Sequoyah outfielder to track the ball down for the game’s final out for a 3-2 win by the Eagles.

Anadarko 5, Jay 4 (Friday)

Following what amounted to a three-run gift in the their half of the first inning, the Jay Bulldog offense could do little more over the remaining six frames to fall 5-4 to the Anadarko Warriors in Friday night play at the Oologah Invitational Tournament.

J.J. Meeker got the starting nod for the ‘Dogs and put the Warriors down in order with a popup and a pair of strikeouts.

In the bottom of the first, Anadarko starter Dylan Friese whiffed the Jay leadoff man and got Cory Steifel to pop out to the first baseman. The Bulldogs then got their first base runner when the Anadarko shortstop was unable to handle the hot shot off the bat of Kyle Shambaugh. Incredibly, the Warrior lefty walked Meeker and Ty Kay to load the bases. A walk to Ty Moore then scored Shambaugh. Following another walk, a wild pitch and a balk, Jay had put three on the board, without a single hit.

Meeker continued to shutdown Anadarko with three-up and three-down top of the second

A leadoff walk to the Warrior’s Jacob Ellerbee came back to haunt Meeker in the top of third. Ellerbee promptly stole second and advanced another 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt. And with two outs, Josh Dearman slapped an RBI single, scoring Ellerbee. Meeker got the next batter to pop out to end the threat.

Following a leadoff error on the Jay infield, a pair of walks and a Hank Hughes base hit, Anadarko scratched out another run in the top of the fourth. With no one out and the sacks jammed, Tyler Buss relieved Meeker. The Bulldog southpaw fanned the next two hitters and got his counterpart Friese to ground out weakly to his second baseman, leaving the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the inning, Jay’s Mack Pritchett worked Friese for a leadoff walk and moved to third on Larrabee’s single. Pritchett made it 4-2 when he scored on Stiefel’s long sacrifice fly to left.

Dearman and Tyler Melton were both struck by pitches to leadoff the fifth. And the Warriors put both runners in scoring position on Mosier’s sacrifice bunt. Dearman crossed the plate on Russell Glidewell’s sacrifice grounder deep in the hole to shortstop. A two-out single by Kyle Burkes scored Melton to knot things up at four each.

Following a scoreless sixth, Dearman reached base on his second base hit of the game and moved to third on a Mosier safety in the seventh. Dearman scored Anadarko’s go ahead run on another error by the Jay infield. Kay, now in relief of Buss, extinguished the fire by getting the Warriors’ next two batters down in order.

Trailing 5-4, the Bulldogs had the last bats and the top of their order due at the plate. Friese got the first two Jay batters to ground out to his infield. Shambaugh followed with a two-out base hit to put the potential tying run aboard. But the Anadarko left-hander sawed Meeker off, forcing a popup off the handle and the 5-4 Warrior win.

In other games at the tournament, the Bulldogs fell to Oologah 8-0 on Thursday, and to Inola by an 18-13 score on Saturday. Jay baseball will be back in action today when they travel to Vinita for a 4:30 matchup.