As the Duncan baseball team learned Thursday, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
At the Ardmore/Lone Grove Showcase, the Demons (6-5) held early leads against Ada (4-9) and Broken Bow (12-4), only to watch them slip away as the game progressed.
“When we have opportunities to put teams away like that, we have to take advantage,” Demons coach Tim Hightower said. “We started quickly, I like the way we played at the beginning, but we got a little complacent.”
ADA 6 DUNCAN 5
In its first game of the showcase, the Demons did all they could to come back, but it was too little too late in a 6-5 loss to the Cougars.
Senior second baseman Cade Baldwin wasted no time getting runners on base, leading the game off with a double. Sophomore catcher Mason Hightower took advantage, bringing in Baldwin with an RBI single. First baseman Brian Bradbury gave the Demons a second run with a fielder’s choice ground ball, driving in Cody Cole, who ran for Hightower.
Duncan extended its lead to 3-0 in the second when senior right fielder Tanner Norton blasted a solo home run.
Each teams remained quiet in the third, and Ada slowly began to stage its comeback in the fourth. The Cougars chipped away at the Demons lead, scoring one in the fourth, two in the fifth and sixth and one in the seventh inning.
With their back against the wall down 6-3, Duncan refused to go down easily in the bottom of the seventh. Norton an junior outfielder Taber Kaspereit each walked to open the inning and senior outfielder Ryan Haley loaded the bases with a single. Hightower showed patience at the plate, drawing a walk to bring Norton home and cut the deficit to 6-4. After senior shortstop Dillon Stanley struck out, an error by the catcher brought Kaspereit home and the Demons were down just one. With just one out left, Bradbury struck out to end the game.
“I’m happy with the way we were able to fight back,” Hightower said. “If we had played like that in the middle innings as well, we would have been better off.”
Mason Pewitt (0-1) took the loss for the Demons, going four and 2/3 innings and giving up three earned runs on eight hits.
It was a similar script ending in the same result against the Savages, as the team fell 12-7.
Once again, the Demons wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. After Stanley drew a lead off walk, Haley grounded into a fielders choice and Peters played Haley with a single to give Duncan a 1-0 lead in the first.
More offense came in the second, with Hightower blasting the team’s second homerun of the day. After Hunter Phillips walked, Kaspereit ran for him and ended up scoring on a passed ball.
Broken Bow got right back into things in the fourth, putting up four runs on starter Cody Cole. The Savages exploded for three runs in the fourth and five runs in the sixth to pull ahead for the win.
Phillips scored on an error in the third, and a three run home run from Haley in the sixth cut into the lead, but it was not enough.
Trevor Stone (2-2), who came in to relieve Cole, took the loss. Stone lasted three innings, letting in four earned runs on six hits.
“The main thing with these games is that our biggest opponent was ourselves,” Hightower said. “We left some balls up in the zone and our opponents made plays.”
The Demons will play their next two games at the Showcase today when it faces Putnam City West at 3 p.m. and Lone Grove at 5:30 p.m.