Just after Bartlesville Indians Doenges Ford made their big hit on Thursday night, OKC Sandlot made a thunderous response.
The Sandlot stormed seven runs late in the fourth and their way to victory, 11-3, and the end of the Indians’ baseball season.
The teams squared off — at the Oklahoma Christian University diamond battlefield — in a third-round showdown of the AABC Stan Musial World Series.
At stake was a spot in Friday’s semifinals, also at the OCU.
The Indians finished 1-2 in the SM World Series and 7-7 in July.
Errors (three) and walks allowed (five) proved to be the Indians’ biggest challenges — along with another slow offensive outing (five hits, no walks).
The OKC team had taken a 4-0 lead in the first three innings. The Indians fought back with three runs in the top of the fourth – highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from Jace Thompson and Brenden Asher, and a Kaeden Young groundout that led to a scoring error.
The Indians played 39 games in 55 days; they have the most wins on the program in a season since the mid-2010s.
Among the highlights of the season was progressing to the semifinals of the Glen Winget Tournament, coming one win close to playing in the SM World Series semifinals and winning the tournament Branson (Mo.) .
The two teams that beat Bartlesville in the Musial WS pool match (Boa Boat, Sandlots) advanced to Friday’s semifinals.
Here are five takeaways for the Indians from Thursday’s season finale.
1 — SWING TIME
Bartlesville’s Indian batters brought an aggressive approach to home plate, likely due in part to Sandlot’s pitchers putting the ball in the crease, or the size of the crease determined by the umpire. The Bartlesville hitters caught just 32 balls on 85 pitches and got just one walk.
Sandlot’s defense recorded eight flyouts/pop-ups and one groundout. The Indians fell to three swing strikes on six strikeouts.
To put it simply, the Indians fell victim to baseball’s capricious fate – they made strong contact with the bat but hit them right where they were.
Luke Fox and Asher each ripped two hits for Bartlesville, followed by Thompson and Daniel Barham with one each.
Barham was 4-for-8, had three points and scored four times in the Indians’ three games in the Musial WS.
——2 — ERRORS CAN
The Indians’ three errors – two by the infield and one in the outfield – resulted in four unearned Sandlot runs. Bartlesville’s glove game has been pretty tight this season – Thursday’s game was one of the exceptions.
3 — SETTING THE TABLE
The Bartlesville offense created a menu of tasty opportunities, but came away the hungriest. The Indians produced a base runner every round to make their mouths water for a savory experience – only to have the cooling supply in the kitchen.
In the first, Fox ripped a single and got stuck on the third.
Asher threw a two-out single in the second. Fox drove in a two-out hit in the third, stole the second and never reached the third.
Bartlesville had its biggest push in the fourth inning with three singles and two errors. At fifth, Fiddler scored two outs and never left first base.
4 – MOUND TOUCH LUCK
Indians starter Jakob Hall allowed three hits and only one walk, but Sandlot scored four runs against them (two of which were unearned). He took out four.
Hall threw just 13 balls on 54 pitches.
Reliever Bradee Rigdon suffered a rare tough run. In his previous 18 innings this summer, he hadn’t allowed an earned run. But, Sandlot recorded four walks and three hits against him to score five runs (two more unearned).
5 — RALLY SPIRIT
Trailing 4-0 – and facing a hard shot – the Indians broke out for a fiery final rally.
They scored three times in the top of the fourth, fueled by singles from Barham, Thompson and Asher and ball contact from Fiddler and Young that resulted in errors.