Sean Gorman / The Duncan Banner
The Duncan Banner
With two losses on the first day of the Class A District Tournament Thursday, baseball in Waurika is officially in the books for 2013.
Falling victim to its own mistakes in losses to Empire and Apache, the Eagles (2-13) were eliminated from the tournament, ending their chance to advance any further this year.
“We had four freshman starting this year, so I certainly expect them to continue to get better. There’s just some things about the game we have not learned yet,” Eagles coach Everett Hodges said “I can’t say enough about Mason Wilkerson, as our only senior he provided us with a lot of leadership all year.”
Empire 6, Waurika 1
In the opening round of Class A District play against Waurika, the Empire baseball team achieved something it hadn’t yet pulled off all season: finishing a game error free.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Waurika could not say the same.
The Bulldogs made the most of their opponent’s mistakes, scoring four runs off Eagles errors to clinch a 6-1 win.
“No errors. That’s the key. It’s the first game of the year without any errors, and that was difference,” Bulldogs coach Caleb Cole said. “For the first time in a while, the players seemed excited to play. Coaching baseball is a lot of fun when we can play like this.”
Dillon Twigg and Waurika senior Mason Wilkerson got off to strong starts on the mound, and the teams remained scoreless for the first three innings.
Empire finally drew first blood in the top of the fourth. Stephen Price started the inning by knocking a hard hit ground ball to second base and reaching second on an overthrow to first.
The same turn of events occured on a ground ball from Dakota Billbree, with Price scoring the game’s first run on the inning’s second overthrow from second to first base.
The Bulldogs added to their lead in the fifth on another Waurika error when Dillon Pittman dropped a fly ball from Cole Bridges in centerfield, allowing Twigg to score from second base.
More offense came for Empire in the sixth when a bases loaded walk by Bridges brought Twigg home. Price followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left field that brought home Braden Hill and Brandon Stogsdale came home on an overthrow after stealing third base.
“We were two or three errors away from it being a 1-0 ball game,” Eagles coach Everett Hodges said. “Give Empire credit, they made plays when they had to make them.”
Waurika cut the lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the sixth, but it would be too little too late. Braden Hill shut the door on any chance of a Waurika comeback, getting three groundouts in the seventh to complete the Empire victory.
Twigg was almost totally mistake free in a winning effort on the hill, allowing just two hits and one earned run with six strikeouts.
Apache 10, Waurika 0
With its season on the line, Waurika simply had no answers for the Warriors and no way of avoiding mistakes.
Apache scored in every inning while the Eagles failed to generate any offense, and the Warriors secured the run-rule victory in the fourth inning.
The mistakes from earlier in the day continued in Waurika’s second contest, as a passed ball on a strikeout brought home Apache’s first run in the bottom of the first. The Warriors extended that lead two batters later, scoring when Waurika’s first baseman dropped a throw from its shortstop.
More errors arrived in the second, with Apache building its lead to 3-0 on a missed throw from third to first base.
Two more runs scored on passed balls in the third, and after gaining a nine run lead, the Warriors put Waurika away with an RBI groundball single to short.
District play will finish Friday, with Apache facing Empire at noon. If Apache wins they will win the district, but Empire would get the chance to play one more time for the district title should they beat the Warriors at noon.