Durant, Ok. - Two big cats fought it out on the baseball field on Friday afternoon. The Durant Lions (1-0) hosted the Tupelo Tigers for it’s season opener at the Durant Multi Sports Complex and Durant ran the Tigers out of town with a 9-1 win in five innings.
This isn’t the team that the Tigers fielded two years ago when they went to State Tournament and the Lions graduated the team that took to them State Tournament just a season ago. The Lions also loss a top player in Hunter Stephens, now a Silo Rebel.
However, the roster overhaul of the Lions didn’t effect it’s performance on opening day.
While a little shaky at times, Lions opening day picture was Brandon Maynard. He had five innings of work with 48 strikes and 42 balls, walked 6 batters and struck out 5.
Durant’s defense was solid with only throwing error, in contrast to Tupelo which had four big errors that allowed Lion baserunners to cross the plate.
Tupelo had it’s chances to score, but just couldn’t get the baserunners home.
In the top of the first inning, Maynard found himself in a bit of a pinch with basesloaded after two walks and a hit batter. But Maynard stayed calm got out the inning unscathed as the Tigers left 3 men on base.
Tupelo had pitching problems coupled with shaky defense. Durant was gifted two base runners at the bottom of the first inning. Then Dylan Stevens drew a walk which loaded the bases. Seth White stepped into the batters box and hammered a screaming single to right center field for 2 RBIs. Later in the inning, Durant would capitalize on a Tupelo error and Carson Campbell would cross the plate to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.
Tupelo went down in order in the top of the second inning, but Durant would explode for three more runs in the bottom of the inning.
Tupelo felt friendly and gave the Lions two baserunners to start the bottom of the second. Ty Jackson drew a walk and Tyler Stovall was hit by a pitch. Then Cooper Web moved the runners with a sac bunt. Austin Joines then hit a sac-fly RBI to bring home Jackson. Power hitter Alex Brooks dug into the batters box and smashed a RBI single up the middle to bring home Stovall. Then Dylan Stevens hit a pop fly that was dropped by an Tupelo outfielder and Brooks came home and the Lions led 6-0.
The Tigers threaten to cut into the Durant’s led in the top of the third inning after Maynard got into a little trouble. The Tigers drew two walks to begin the inning, with a fielders choice. With two outs and bases loaded, Maynard got out of the inning with a strike out and the Tigers left 3 men on base.
Durant would put 3 more runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 4th inning.
Stovall was hit by a pitch, Webb got on base because of a dropped fly ball and Stovall rounded the bases for a score. Joines got on base and scored on a wild pitch, then Stevens hit into a double play sac RBI and gave the Lions a 9-0 lead.
The Tigers got a run in the top of the fifth inning on a fielders choice.
The Lions will host N.W. Classen on March 5th at 4 p.m.
Durant Junior Varsity recap:
The Durant Junior Varsity baseballers opened the season in impressive fashion on a cold Friday night with a 10-0 whitewashing of visiting Broken Bow in the First United Bank/Choctaw Resort Festival.
The Lions erupted for five runs in the first inning and four more in the second before tacking on a final tally in the fourth. Dylan Stevens allowed just one hit and struck out three over the first three innings to notch the victory before Austin Joines and Cooper Webb posted a scoreless frame of relief of apiece. Webb struck out the side in his first mound appearance.
Carson Campbell and Tyler Stovall each picked up RBIs in the opening stanza but the biggest blow was a two-run single from Riley Hendrix.
Hendrix also had a run-scoring double in the second, sandwiched between singles from Webb, Campbell, Stovall and Ryan Boehme. Campbell and Boehme drove in runs. Stovall single to open the fourth and eventually scored on a two-out bases loaded walk to Webb.
Webb and Stovall finished with two hits apiece while Campbell, Hendrix and Boehme each had one.