Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 5, 2013

Tigers fall short of regional crown

TULSA — In a cruel twist of fate, Tahlequah's baseball season came to a close much like most of its games this season — in heartbreaking fashion.

After falling behind early, Tahlequah rallied only to fall short in the final inning of a 7-6 loss in the regional championship game against Class 5A No. 12 Coweta on Saturday afternoon.

A victory would have extended the Tigers' season to a winner-take-all regional title game on Monday. Instead, the loss to Coweta ends Tahlequah's season at 13-21.

"A little bit of a microcosm of our season," Tahlequah coach Nick Zodrow said. "As much as we did fight back, we were on the short end of a lot of close games."

Tahlequah lost to Coweta 6-5 on March 26, but the one that ended Tahlequah's season was infinitely more painful.

Coweta stormed out to a 2-0 lead after a 1/2 inning, and eventually that two-run advantage would morph into a 6-2 cushion after four frames.

After a scoreless fifth and sixth innings, things amped up in the seventh inning.

Coweta scored a run in the top half of the inning to extend its lead to 7-2. Tahlequah then went to work.

Logan Lewis and Houston Glad led off the inning with singles. Connor Mutzig followed with a walk, and Colby Brittain would follow with a two-run single, scoring Lewis and Glad.

Then after a walk to Austin Riley, a single by Ryan Sanders plated Mutzig. With the bases loaded, Ben Stacey followed by striking out looking, and then things went sideways for Tahlequah.

With one out and the sacks full of Tahlequah runners, Jordan Blalock hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Brittain, and all of a sudden Tahlequah was within a run of tying things up. Yet, Lane Cobb, who was on deck, never followed with a plate appearance.

Wait, what?

Shortly after Brittain scored on the sacrifice fly, Riley was doubled off second base.

Game over.

"We had the tying run 180 feet away," Zodrow said. "And I just knew Lane and Logan were going to come through for us."

Coweta will move on to the 5A state tournament while Tahlequah will prepare for the 2014 season.

"Our guys showed a lot of heart, a lot of heart and a lot of character," Zodrow said. "It was a fun game to be a part of. It was intense."

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