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April 16, 2013

Comanche makes Empire pay for its mistakes on road

EMPIRE — While the Empire baseball team made numerous mistakes Tuesday night, the Comanche team did all it could to make the Bulldogs pay for them.

The Indians (8-13) took advantage of ten Bulldogs (6-12) errors and scored in every inning en route to run ruling Empire 15-1 in three innings.

“We hit the ball, played defense and we were hitting strikes on the mound,” Indians coach Nick Reed said. “You have to make them pay for mistakes. When they start kicking around a few, it’s fuel for your team to get a bigger lead.”

Following a 9-1 loss to Marlow on Monday, Comanche looked like a new team at the plate against Empire, gaining an early lead with three first-inning runs. Senior Kale Reed started things off by reaching first on a ground ball to shortstop that was thrown over the head of Empire’s first baseman Dustin Curtis. In the next three innings, nine more Empire errors would happen. Reed gave Comanche its first and final lead of the game by stealing second and third before coming home on a passed ball thrown by Empire’s Braden Hill.

After Zach Young reached on a walk and stole second, Comanche doubled its lead after he was brought home on an RBI single to short. Senior first baseman Cody Crow extended the Indians advantage to three with a hard hit RBI double to deep left field.

In the bottom frame of the first, Empire returned the favor and made the most of a Comanche mistake to score its first and only run. Dillon Twigg first reached first on a botched ground ball at first base and was then brought home when a Cole Bridges ground ball hit to third was thrown over the head of Comanche’s second baseman.

From then on, it was all Comanche.

Braden Bailey led off the second with a walk, and then scored from first on a ball tossed into centerfield while trying to steal second. The Indians scored two more to gain a 6-1 edge, and never looked back.

“I’d like to see more intensity,” Bulldogs coach Caleb Cole said. “We do a few things right, but we’re still making too many defensive mistakes to win games.”

Reed continued his strong day in the third inning, bringing home Hunter Rice and Bailey on an RBI triple to deep left field. Johnathon Robinson followed suit with an RBI double, giving the Indians a comfortable 9-1 lead. Crow added a run after crushing a line drive to second base, and the Indians kept the pressure on, finishing the third with a nine-run effort.

While his teammates gave him all the insurance he would need, Rice stayed poised on the hill all game, allowing just one run on two hits with three strikeouts to earn the win.

“The overall attitude of this team is up, morale is high, and it shows on the field,” Reed said. “The key is you have to play defense without making mistakes; if you kick it around, it gets that much harder to win, and we defended well today.”

Comanche will return to action at 4:30 p.m. against Ringling at home, while Empire will next play its most important games of the year at the district tournament in Waurika Thursday.

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