Tahlequah was in desperate need of a victory on Tuesday night. Winning a district game would have made it that much sweeter.
The Tigers were able to scratch out one victory in a District 5A-3 doubleheader against Grove on Tuesday. The Tigers lost the first game, 11-7, and rallied to win the final game, 3-1.
“We had to at least get a split to still control our own destiny,” Tahlequah coach Nick Zodrow said. “Even though we made it a little bit tougher, we still control with what we do ourselves. It’s in our hands.”
Second game: Tahlequah 3, Grove 1
Colby Brittain struck out Cordale Barton looking to end the game. It was fitting since Brittain logged 16 strikeouts to help Tahlequah salvage a game in the doubleheader.
Brittain issued three straight walks in the second inning, and one of the walks pushed home Brent Hall with Grove’s only run of the game.
That’s when Zodrow paid a visit to Brittain on the mound.
“He was just overthinking it,” Zodrow said of Brittain, who allowed only three hits and two walks after working out of trouble early on. “He was amped up. He was pretty electric tonight. I didn’t have a gun on him, but I’m sure he was in the upper 80s and with a good hook. He was outstanding.”
Tahlequah (14-14, 8-3 District 5A-3) scored all three of its runs in the fifth inning. Colton Mashburn drew a one-out walk and came around to score on Brittain’s game-tying triple to the left-field fence.
Ben Stacey was then hit by a pitch, and Houston Glad brought Brittain home on a go-ahead single to left field. An error on Grove shortstop Tyler Good allowed Stacey to move up a base, and Stacey scored the Tigers’ third run on a sacrifice fly by Austin Riley.
Grove’s Ty Phillips pitched six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits. Phillips also had six strikeouts while issuing five walks.
First game: Grove 11, Tahlequah 7
Back-to-back doubles by Jake Spychalski and Phillips gave way to a five-run frame for Grove in the decisive sixth inning. The Ridgerunners entered the frame trailing 7-6, but they used a walk and two critical errors on Tahlequah’s end.
After Phillips drove in Spychalski to tie the game, Cordale Barton drew a walk. Brent Hall followed by lofting a fly ball to center field, which was bobbled by Brittain. Phillips scored on the play to give Grove the lead for good, and a subsequent error on Dustin Hicks at first base allowed Barton and Hall to both score.
Scottie Spicer scored on a wild pitch later in the sixth to give Grove its final tally.
Taking the loss for Tahlequah was Brock Mitchell, who came on in relief of Glad. Mitchell tossed the final two innings after Glad’s five-hit, three-walk and 11-strikeout performance.
Hall got the win for Grove.
The Ridgerunners struck first with five runs in the third inning, and Tahlequah responded with a run in the third and six in the fourth.