Durant southpaw Hunter Stephens got the start in the opener and pitched all five innings recording five strikeouts. Stephens also went 1-for-1 at the plate with a single and a walk. Durant catcher Keaton Webb went 1-for-1 and Colby Hicks went 1-for-3 with 3 RBIs.
The Lions were in business early in the bottom of the first with runners on first and second and nobody out. Tyler Hendley drove in the first run with a single to center field. Hicks followed with a sharp grounder to Enid’s shortstop who couldn’t turn the double play, which allowed another run to score to make it 2-0.
The Lions were poised to add a third run to the tally when Jase Hammock hit a ground ball heading to right field. The Enid second baseman fielded the ball to his left, spun and made a good throw to the first baseman who appeared to drop the ball as Hammock crossed the bag. However, Hammock was ruled out to put an end to an eventful first inning.
Hicks drove in another run on a sacrifice play in the bottom of the third to put the Lions up 3-0 heading into the fourth inning.
The Lions added another run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI from Tanner Gwin to make it 4-0. The Plainsmen threatened to score in the top of the fourth with runners on the corners and one out. Christian Voitek hit a ground ball to Durant shortstop Tyler Hendley to set up a 6-4-3 double play to put an end to the scoring threat and the inning.
The Lions faced the same situation again in the top half of the fifth. Once again, the Plainsmen had runners on first and third with one out. Enid catcher Jackson Walker scored on a hard liner towards third base to put the Plainsmen on the board.
Stephens came back with a strikeout but then issued a walk to Jake Walker to load the bases for the Plainsmen. With two outs and the bases loaded, Stephens answered with another strikeout to get the Lions out of trouble. The Lions scored five runs in the bottom half of the fifth to seal the deal. Hendley was the starting pitcher for the Lions in game two against the Westmoore Jaguars.
Hendley pitched five innings before handing the ball over to Haworth who came on in relief. Haworth went 1-for-2 at the plate in game two while Robert Ragle went 1-for-1 and scored the only run of the game for the Lions. The Jags scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch to take a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Westmoore tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second but two spectacular plays in the field from Hammock and Webb prevented further damage. Westmoore starting pitcher Spenser Sloan got off to a great start and struck out the side in the bottom of the second. After giving up a leadoff single in the top of the third, Hendley responded by striking out the next three batters he faced to end the inning.
Ragle scored the only run of the game for the Lions in the bottom of the third. While trying to stretch a double into a triple, Ragle was hit in the back of the head by the throw from the Westmoore shortstop. Ragle was allowed to make the whole trip around the bases and crossed the plate to put the Lions on the board.
The Jags scored again in the top of the fifth with an RBI double to take a 4-1 lead. The Lions attempted a rally in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff double from Haworth.
Hicks grounded out to third base for the first out. Ruben Ramos was able to send Haworth to third with a grounder to second but Hammock struck out looking to end the game. Overall, Norman was pleased with the play of his team. “I thought that all of our pitchers did well today,” said Norman. “Early in the season, pitching is ahead of hitting.”
The Lions continued to play in the First Pitch Festival on Saturday and then resume regular season play on Monday against NW Classen.