The Duncan baseball team entered its game against El Reno in the regional tournament Saturday with plenty of momentum, having beaten the Indians 14-4 just two days before.
While the same opportunities from the teams’ previous matchup were there, that momentum would not last, as the Demons watched their season conclude with a 5-4 loss to the Indians in eight innings.
“We had many opportunities to score throughout the game,” Demons head coach Tim Hightower said. “We just did not execute enough when those scoring situations were available.”
Duncan stranded 12 runners in the loss.
El Reno claimed the game’s first lead with two runs in the second, and the Demons offense finally showed life in the fourth.
Bryan Bradburry led off the inning with a single, Tanner Norton moved pinch runner Cade Baldwin to second with a sacrifice bunt and John Campbell scored Duncan’s first run, plating Baldwin by reaching on an error. Duncan then tied the game in the fifth when Mason Hightower scored Taber Kaspereit on a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
After El Reno retook the lead in the top of the fifth, Duncan showed more fight in the sixth, once again tying things up.
Hunter Phillips got a rally going with a two out single, and for the second time Campbell reached on an error. Following a Kaspereit walk to load the bases, pinch runner Scott Cooper scored Duncan’s third run on a passed ball. On the next at bat Duncan missed a chance to take the lead, as Dillon Stanley hit into a bases loaded fielder’s choice to end the inning.
With the team’s tied at three, it would take extra innings to decide who would reach the regional final.
Duncan’s best chance to win came in the bottom of the seventh, when Riley Peters was hit by a pitch and Aaron Haley stole second base as Peters’ pinch runner. Tanner Norton delivered with a single, but the Demons came up a step short, as Haley was thrown out at home.
El Reno made sure to respond, scoring two runs in the top of the eighth.
Duncan made a final stand in the bottom of the inning, but it would not be enough.
Cooper cut the lead to one, scoring once again on a passed ball, but the Demons could not complete the comeback, stranding runners on first and third, who were originally on base with one out.
Skyler Rodriguez did all he could on the mound, limiting El Reno to five runs after getting the start, but the Duncan offense could not take advantage.
“It was a tough loss for us and a difficult way to end the season,” Hightower said. “Our kids fought hard but came up short tonight. We just did not do enough offensively.”