Huskies capture first victory of season

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Huskies capture first victory of season

Late-inning production by three top returnees delivered the Pawhuska High School Huskies their first victory of the season in their Thursday opener at the Caney Valley Baseball Tournament.

PHS sophomore Caleb Bruce doubled home senior Hayden Javellas in the top of the eighth to put the Huskies in front by a run. Junior pitcher Gage Dagenais then nailed down the 6-5 victory by shutting down Summit on its final at-bats.

PHS built a 5-3 advantage for its starter on the mound, left-hander Chanler Collins, before fielding errors allowed Summit to tie the contest. Three extra innings were needed before the victory was secured.

Shaky defense contributed to Newkirk’s three-run first inning Monday when the CVHS tourney resumed for a day after rainstorms forced cancellation of games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Pawhuska failed to score on the Tigers — despite putting nearly a dozen runners on base — and the Tigers won the contest, 5-0.

“We’ve got a very young team,” said PHS head coach Brian Edwards. “They need to get better mentally and start making the routine plays.”

Against Newkirk, the Huskies left the bases loaded twice and stranded 11 runners overall. They also committed several costly errors that spotted the Tigers an early lead.

“We’re just not getting hits at the right times,” Edwards added. “That — and errors — is what’s really been killing us.”

Pawhuska opened the 2015 campaign March 9 with a tough home loss to Blackwell, a quality 4A team. The following day, Barnsdall defeated the Huskies, 10-2. PHS squandered some early scoring opportunities against the Panthers, who received a quality pitching start from freshman left-hander James Cole. (A couple of questionable calls also hindered the locals.)

After Barnsdall went up, 10-0, by scoring five times in the top of the seventh, the Huskies finally put two runs on the board in their final at-bat. Collins started the late rally by drawing a one-out walk and moved around to third when Bruce hammered a double over the centerfielder’s head.

Dagenais knocked in Pawhuska’s first run with a sacrifice fly and Taylor Walker lined an RBI single to left to send home the second.

In Monday’s tournament finale at Ramona, Pawhuska battled back from four runs down and tied Caney Valley in the top of the seventh inning. PHS’s Logan Trammel crossed the plate to make it 5-5 when freshman Braden Wilson’s beat out a bases-loaded, two-out grounder.

The host Trojans scored a run in the bottom of the inning to win the game and conclude the tourney. Earlier in the day, with Cole on the hill for the Panthers, Barnsdall had ripped Caney Valley, 8-2.

Against the Huskies, CVHS advanced the clinching run to third via an infield error. Two were out when the runner slid home after barely beating the recovery throw on a moderately wild pitch.

The Trojans had taken a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first and increased their lead to four at the end of the third. Taylor Walker got Pawhuska on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a two-out single up the middle that drove home Colton Hindman, who had stolen second after working an 0-2 count into a walk.

Caney Valley regained its four-run advantage (at 5-1) in the home half of the fourth, but the Huskies reduced the margin to 5-3 with a two-run fifth. Highlighting the PHS rally were back-to-back RBI singles by Collins and Bruce. Collins sent home another run for the Huskies with a bases-loaded groundout in the fifth. Consecutive bunt singles by Brycen Swan and Wilson brought around Pawhuska’s fourth run of the contest.

Bruce pitched seven stalwart innings for the Huskies, giving up five hits while walking three batters, hitting another and recording eight strikeouts. Caney Valley scored all six of its runs with two outs and was helped by four Pawhuska errors, including one that extended the final inning long enough to get the deciding run home.

The Huskie baseballers will take an abbreviated Spring Break before hosting Woodland on Monday, March 23. Sperry will visit Pawhuska the following day. That week will conclude with consecutive PHS road trips to Newkirk on Thursday and Dewey on Friday. On Saturday, March 28, the Huskies will host a three-teamer with Hominy and Drumright.