The Duncan Banner
The Duncan baseball team has struggled to protect its own turf for the last month, but that all changed Monday night.
The Demons (10-13) thrived in all aspects of the game and picked up its first win at home since the middle of March with a 9-5 win against district rival Altus.
“We did some things right in the first inning and continued to keep the pressure on,” Demons coach Tim Hightower said. “Dillon [Stanley] pitched extremely well and we were able to protect what was a pretty comfortable lead.”
Duncan continued its season-long trend of starting strong, putting up four early runs in the first inning.
Before putting in one of this strongest performances of the year on the mound, Stanley got going at the plate, starting things off for Duncan with a one out, stand up double to deep left. Sophomore catcher Mason Hightower brought home the Demons first run with a pop up to shallow left field that the Bulldogs fielders couldn’t reach. Sophomore third baseman Bryce Byford plated Hightower with a double of his own to right field. Senior first baseman Riley Peters got on base with a walk and senior designated hitter Brian Bradbury scored Byford and Peters when the Atlus right fielder dropped his two-out pop fly.
Duncan kept its foot on the gas in the second inning, extending its lead out to 7-0.
Junior Taber Kaspereit got things going with a single to left, and was then called safe at second after forcing the ball out of the second baseman’s hand with a slide on a Ryan Haley ground ball. Kaspereit and Haley executed a double steal and Stanley brought Kaspereit home with another ground ball to second base. Hightower stayed hot, singling to right field to bring in Haley. Byford got on base again with a single and Cody Cole, running for Stanley, stole home after Atlus tried to throw out Byford at second base.
With a comfortable seven run lead, Stanley baffled the Bulldogs time and time again. The senior went the distance, going seven inning with seven strikeouts and allowing four earned runs.
“When you have a lead like we did, you’re able to work for some efficient innings and put the ball over the plate, and he did that well,” Hightower said. “Defensively, we played well and he was able to get the ground ball we needed to secure the win.”
Altus got on the board for the first time in the top of the fourth inning with two runs, but an RBI double from Peters and a bases loaded walk by Kaspereit brought the lead right back to seven for Duncan.
The Bulldogs showed some life with three seventh-inning runs and brought the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded, but Stanley secured the Demons fifth district win by forcing a ground ball out to short.
“It’s nice to get a win after some tough losses, we came home and picked up an important district win at a big time of the year for us,” Hightower said.
The Demons will hope for more of the same at 5 p.m. Tuesday when it plays the Bulldogs for the second time in two days on the road.