PARK HILL – Sequoyah used a four-run outburst in the top of the seventh of the opener and starting pitcher Zach Parish struck out 13 Keys batters as the Indians broke a 5-5 tie to register a 9-5 victory over the Cougars in the opener of the Class 3A district playoffs Tuesday night at Cougar Ballpark.
In the nightcap, Keys’ Seth Fritts set down 10 of the final 11 batters he faced en route to a three-hitter as the Cougars forced a third and deciding game Wednesday with a 7-3 victory and a split of the two contests.
In the top of the seventh of the first game, Quinton Johnston was hit by a pitch and would move to third on a single by Parish. After Elijah Tucker was intentionally walked to load the bases, Hunter Soap hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Connor Hall, whose throw to the plate got away from catcher Rylan Davenport and allowed Parish to score from second to give the Indians a 7-5 lead.
Tucker scored on a double by Billy Sunday, and Sunday would cap off the four-run seventh by scoring on an error by Fritts at third base.
The Indians got on the board in the top of the first as Parish reached on a fielders’ choice, stole second and scored on a single to left field by Soap with two outs.
Keys would get the run back in the bottom of the inning as leadoff batter Austin Tarver would walk on four pitches. Tarver then advanced to second on wild pickoff throw by Parish before getting to third on a wild pitch. Tarver would cross the plate on a ground out by Micah Allison to tie the game at 1-1 after one inning.
In the third, the Indians capitalized on Keys miscues as Sequoyah loaded the bases thanks to a walk to shortstop Johnston. Parish reached on an error by pitcher Dillon Stratton. After Tucker grounded out, Soap walked to load the bases, then Sunday grounded to Fritts and the throw to the plate was off line and allowed Johnston and Parish to score. Brett Brown would drive in the Indians’ third run of the inning on another Keys error, scoring Soap from third. Sunday capped off the four-run third when he completed a double-steal from third to give the Indians a 5-1 advantage.
The Cougars would get two of the runs back in the bottom of the frame as Fritts would score on a single by Tyler Russell, and Tarver would cut the lead to 5-3 on a single to left by Micah Allison.
Keys had a chance trim the lead in the bottom of the fourth as Parish walked the bases loaded before getting Allison on a called third strike to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Cougars got to within one at 5-4 as Elisha Allison scored on a fielding error on Tucker, but Parish got out of the jam as Fritts grounded out to Johnston to end the threat.
The Cougars tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth as Tarver reached on an error by Johnston and scored on when Micah Allison doubled down the left field line and Sequoyah left fielder Kyle Sanders mishandled the ball and allowed Allison to score from first.
In the nightcap, the Cougars would score first as Russell singled to center, moved to second on a stolen base, to third on a wild pitch and scored when Indians starter Jeremiah Fixin balked Russell home for a 1-0 Keys advantage. Davenport would make it 2-0 with a double into the left center field gap to score Elisha Allison all the way from first.
Sequoyah cut the lead in half as Soap opened in the bottom of the second by getting hit by a pitch from Cougar hurler Fritts. Soap moved to second on an infield single by Sunday and to third on a wild pitch. Soap would score on a ground out by Sanders to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Cougars would increase the lead to 4-1 in the top of the third on a ground out by Davenport to score Micah Allison from third, then Elisha Allison would score on an overthrow by Parish at third base, allowing the Cougars to score a second run on the play.
In the bottom of the frame, Fixin opened the inning with a single to right and would score on a Parish double to the right center field gap. Parish would later score when right fielder Cameron Jumper misplayed a fly ball that would have been the third out of the inning to cut the gap to 4-3.
Keys would increase the lead to 5-3 on back-to-back doubles by Russell and Micah Allison to lead off the top of the fifth. The Cougars got an unearned run when Phillips was picked off first, but the throw by Parish to Johnston at second was misplayed and allowed Davenport to score from third.
The Cougars would get an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Micah Allison ripped a double down the left field line and scored on a single to left center by Davenport.
Sequoyah 104 000 4 – 9 3 3
Keys 102 011 0 – 5 7 5
Parish and Tiger. Stratton, Walker (7) and Davenport.
WP – Parish. LP – Stratton. HR- None.
Keys 202 020 1 – 7 9 1
Sequoyah 012 000 0 – 3 3 2
Fritts and Davenport. Fixin, Tiger (6) and Ummerteske.
WP – Fritts. LP – Fixin. HR – None.