QUAPAW - Tulsa National held on for dear life to claim a wild 11-10 victory over the NEO All-Stars in the finals of the Oklahoma Little League 9- and 10-year-old state tournament here Tuesday night.
While it never trailed, Tulsa let 4-0, 6-2 and 9-5 leads slip away.
NEO got back to within a run in the bottom of the fifth (9-8) but Tulsa National got a crucial two tallies in the top of the fifth.
Grant Brown singled with one out. Chris O'Neal walked and Austin Lilly singled to load the bases.
After Ben Replogle struck out, Campbell Boulanger was hit by a pitch to force in a run. A bases-loaded walk to Dylan Beerman forced in the visitors' 11th tally.
NEO made things interesting in its half of the fifth. Artemio Herrera drew a leadoff walk - 11th of the game - then moved to second when Braxton Douthit grounded out.
Cody Koger then ripped a ball that went to the fence in right field, allowing him to sprint around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, leaving Tulsa National with a one-run advantage.
Tulsa had a chance to get an insurance run in the top of the sixth when Matt Merrell singled. However, the next three batters struck out, leaving him stranded at second.
Then in the NEO half of the sixth, Jacob Pittman and Matt Abernathy grounded out. Tyler Hemphill singled, but was erased when River Sturges hit into a fielder's choice.
NEO had five hits in the game.
Koger had two of NEO's six hits in the game. Kaid Fidler, DeVan McLoud, Herrera and Hemphill chipped in with a single each.
NEO had beaten Grove 8-5 in the first round, then pounded Tulsa American 16-6 in the quarterfinals. Tulsa National coasted to a 17-7 win over NEO in the winners' bracket final, but NEO bounced back to trip up Tulsa American 8-7 in an elimination game Monday night.
The NEO roster was made up of players from Quapaw (Abernathy, Jason Dixon, Hemphill, Garrett Shapp and Shaun Tune), Wyandotte (Brandon Brown, Douthit, Fidler, McLoud and Sturges), Commerce (Herrera and Jacob Pittman) and Fairland (Koger).
Danny Douthit of Wyandotte was the manager and Randy Dixon and John Tune of Quapaw were the coaches.
Tulsa National routed Chickasha 25-2 in the first round then blanked Cherokee County National of Tahlequah 22-0. That set up the winners' bracket final with NEO.
Chickasha eliminated Grove 19-15 and Tulsa American topped Cherokee County 5-3 before Tulsa American ousted Chickasha 9-0. NEO then dumped Tulsa American to move into the finals.
Six runs in the fifth inning gave NEO an 8-6 lead over Tulsa American. The Tulsans created the final score with a run in their final at-bat. They had the tying run cut down at third base during a game-ending double-play.
Sturges and Herrera had two singles each while Douthit, Koger, Dixon, Tune and Abernathy each had a single.