By BEN JOHNSON
Things seemed to be going in Tahlequah’s favor. The Tigers plated a couple of early runs, and Colby Brittain was mowing down Memorial hitters.
Then things took a turn for the worse — way worse. Brittain and three Tahlequah relievers (Ryan Sanders, Marcus Cordle, Easton Caldwell) surrendered 10 walks while hitting three batters to help Memorial coast to a 13-8 victory at Tiger Field on Tuesday afternoon.
“We gave them 14 or 15 free base runners,” Tahlequah coach Nick Zodrow said. “Our pitching just wasn’t good enough.”
Tahlequah (1-2, 1-1 District 5A-3), who beat Memorial 2-1 on Monday, got off to a promising start against the Chargers (1-6, 1-1). The Tigers plated two runs in the third frame on back-to-back two-out doubles by Brittain and Cordle, whose double was the result of the ball falling between two Memorial outfielders in left-center field.
But that was the last break Tahlequah got against Memorial. Instead, the Tigers kept giving away free bases to Memorial hitters.
Two walks and a hit-by-pitch gave Memorial three base runners in the fourth inning, where the Chargers plated four runs and went ahead for good. Matthew Garroutte, who finished one-of-three with two runs scored, broke the 2-2 tie with a single to center field with two outs.
The segued to the fifth inning, which saw Memorial bat around and score eight runs. Both Kyle Considine and Michael Smith notched two-run singles in the frame.
But again, it was five walks and a hit-by-pitch that spearheaded Memorial’s furious offensive output.
“It wasn’t that we made errors, but it was the walks and the HBP’s — just too many of them,” Zodrow said. “We expect a lot out of Ryan (Sanders), and he’s a guy we’re going to go to in that situation.”
Both Sanders and Cordle only lasted 1/3 of an inning each on the mound. The two combined to give up four walks and five runs.
“The other guys couldn’t come in and command the strike zone,” Zodrow said. “They just couldn’t throw strikes consistently.”
Brittain was tagged with the loss for the Tigers.
Picking up the win for Memorial was Considine, who pitched four innings while giving up five runs on four hits.
Next up for Tahlequah will be a game against Jay at the Owasso tournament on Thursday.