By Kevin Farr
Special to the Democrat
TULSA - Wasted scoring chances and inopportune defensive miscues proved costly for the fifth-rated Durant Lions, dropping a 7-6 district verdict to Tulsa Memorial on Thursday afternoon.
The Lions, now 23-9 overall and 9-2 in 5A-4 play, can still wrap up a tie for the league title at ninth-ranked Pryor on Friday evening.
“We just made too many mistakes but have to come back and learn from those,” head coach Ron Norman said. “We had opportunities that we didn’t cash in to put them away early. I was proud of the way our kids battled against some adverse conditions though.
“We still have all our goals in front of us. We can still claim a share of the district title on Friday and have a chance to host a regional next week.”
Thursday’s contest started much the same as Tuesday’s 11-1 Durant rout of the Chargers at home as the first five Lion hitters all reached base. Hunter Stephens, Ruben Ramos, Tyler Hendley and Derrick Haworth all singled while Colby Hicks reached on an error to make it 2-0 but the visitors left the bases loaded following two strikeouts and a ground out.
After Memorial countered with a run on two hits in the bottom of the stanza, the Lions pushed the margin to 4-1 as the first three hitters all reached again in the second, including a Ramos single in front of Hendley’s two-run base hit.
The Chargers picked up two runs of their own in the second capitalizing on a Durant error with two outs and then tallied another to tie it at 4-4 after three innings.
That’s how it remained until the sixth when the hosts pushed across an unearned run to claim a 5-4 edge.
Durant wouldn’t fold though as Ramos opened the seventh with a single and came all the way around to score on a Derrick Haworth double. Keaton Webb then gave the Lions the lead by beating out a two-out infield single that plated courtesy runner Ty Jackson.
The Lions looked like that might be enough as ace reliever Derrick Haworth allowed a pair of singles but coaxed a ground ball that was thrown away at first to allow both runs to score for the win.
Stephens got the pitching start and worked four innings, allowing four runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts. Haworth then tossed the final two and two-third frames, giving up three unearned runs on five hits.
Hendley led the offensive attack with three hits and three RBI. Ramos also contributed three hits and scored twice while Stephens and Haworth had two hits apiece.