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March 26, 2014

Demons bounce back yet again

DUNCAN — Each time the Demons have been dealt a setback, they have bounced back.

That trend continued Tuesday as the Duncan baseball team beat Chickasha at home 5-3. The District 2-5A win came one day after Duncan (5-3) lost a 3-2 heartbreaker at Chickasha in 10 innings.

Duncan previously split a doubleheader against Noble a week ago and two games at the Shawnee Festival Friday. Demon coach Tim Hightower is happy to see his players show resiliency.

“We have a lot of character on this team,” he said. “We learned a lot from the past two years. The bunch I’ve got, they just don’t quit.”

There were rough spots in Tuesday’s outing but the Demons came together when it counted. Duncan rallied in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Aaron Haley’s double started things off, and after Bryce Byford walked with two out, Mason Rogers hit a shot to right field for a two-run triple.

Rogers then scored on Mason Hightower’s single up the middle.

“When (Rogers) was on third base, I thought, ‘Nothing better to do but get a hit,’” Mason Hightower said.

Rogers, who started on the mound, had a shaky first inning, giving up two runs. He then settled down and kept the Fighting Chicks scoreless through the next three.

The Demon sophomore pitcher got in a jam in the fifth after walking one batter and hitting two with pitches to load the bases with one out. Chickasha got one run across the plate on a fielder’s choice, but catcher Mason Hightower snared a foul pop-up near the screen to end the threat.

In Duncan’s half of the fifth inning, Hunter Phillips got to second base on an error with one out. Dylan Zawicki was intentionally walked to try to force a double play, but Collin Klingensmith singled to center to score Phillips. Zawicki then scored when the ball got past the centerfielder. Rogers finished it off, shutting out Chickasha in the final two innings. He struck out five for the win. All the way, Mason Hightower stood by his teammate.

“Any time he gets behind in the count, and he’s maybe losing a little confidence,” the Demon catcher said. “I remind him, if he’s on, nobody can hit him.”

He added that the defense behind Rogers helped.

“It’s a big boost for the pitcher,” Mason Hightower said. “When you see your defense doing well, it makes you want to pitch well.”

Tim Hightower praised the Duncan defense as well. John Campbell had several key plays at second base, as did Klingensmith at shortstop. Although Rogers didn’t have his best game, the Demon coach liked how he came through when it counted.

“Mason (Rogers) found ways in crucial situations to win the game,” he said.

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