KETCHUM - Commerce hoped to keep its dreams of a trip to the 2A state baseball tournament alive.
The Tigers picked up a wild 9-8 victory over Lucky 7 Conference rival Fairland in an eight-inning marathon opener Friday afternoon
Pocola hammered Ketchum in the day's first game, then rolled to an 11-2 win over the Tigers in the winners' bracket final.
Ketchum remained alive with a 17-16 win over Fairland.
Commerce, playing without Josh Botts (in Oklahoma City for the state track meet), faced Ketchum Saturday afternoon in an elimination game.
The winner then went up against Pocola for the championship.
“We will have to hodgepodge our pitching today,” Commerce coach Brian Simmons said. “We tried to get games moved back (to the evening), but Ketchum overruled that. We could have had Botts tonight (Saturday night) but they weren't going to allow that to happen.”
“The kids did a heck of a job,” Simmons said. “We swung at good pitches and put pressure on Fairland. Then for us to play Pocola, we wore out. But that's what you gotta do.”
“We're disappointed,” Fairland coach Jerry Johnson said. The Owls finish with a 23-4 record. “We just didn't do what we should have done to win.”
Nathan Webb drove in the winning run for Commerce with none out in the bottom of the eighth against the Owls.
Fairland had taken an 8-5 lead in the top of the eighth, parlaying two singles and two walks into three runs.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, Trae Ratliff drew a leadoff walk. Luke Manning, Josh Pilkinton and Josh Kelly followed with walks to generate one run.
Edward Vazquez drilled a double to left, driving in two runs.
On a full count offering, Nate Webb lined a single to left to get Kelly home with the game-winner.
“The one thing thought be there was pitching and we just didn't pitch well,” Johnson said. “We hit the ball well, but didn't pitch or play defense well enough to win. We scored eight in the first game and 16 in the second - when you score 16, you should pitch your way into a win.”
Commerce jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings, then each team scored a run in the fourth.
The Owls made things interesting in the fifth on a RBI triple by Stevie Nowlin and a sacrifice fly by Owen Shortt.
Webb led off the CHS fifth with a home run, giving the Tigers a 5-3 advantage.
Fairland tied the game in the top of the seventh, the key blow coming with two out.
Nowlin started the inning by reaching on an error. After Shortt struck out, Yancey Lett and Casey Robertson followed with consecutive singles.
A single to left by Kyle Witham started a wild series of events that allowed Nowlin and Lett to score, creating a 5-5 tie.
Commerce went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
“The bottom of the order did a good job getting walks, then Edward had the big hit to score a couple,” Simmons said. “That was a huge hit from Webb to drive in the winning run.”
Vasquez and Webb had two hits each for Commerce. Kelly, Trent Kissee, Morgan and Ratliff each had a hit for the Tigers.
Lett had a double and three singles and Bunce had three singles for the Owls.
Robertson, Witham and Chuck Cassinelli each had two hits for FHS.
Ketchum 17, Fairland 16
The Warriors took a 17-13 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a five-run rally.
Fairland staged a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh. A single by Reid VanHoose drove in Cassinelli with the Owls' 16th run, but Bunce hit a grounder to second to end the game.
Fairland had jumped out to an 11-4 lead but wouldn't hold on.
Shortt went 4-for-5 with a two-run triple and three singles for the Owls.
Cassinelli and VanHoose had three hits each and Bunce and Witham chipped in with two each.