Huskies win 2, lose 1 in PHS tourney

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

After taking big steps forward in two early victories at last week’s Pawhuska High School Baseball Tournament, the PHS Huskies did a little backsliding in the Saturday morning championship game.

The host squad opened the tourney by handing the Shidler Tigers their first loss of the season on Thursday and followed with a run-rule win Friday over the Pawnee Black Bears. In both of those matchups, the Huskies used timely hits and adequate defense to support iron-solid pitching by Gage Dagenais and Caleb Bruce.

There was nothing particularly timely about the Saturday finale, which started four hours ahead of schedule to accommodate Pawhuska’s opponents, the Newkirk Tigers, whose prom was set for Saturday night. The Huskies might have preferred staying home to watch cartoons and eat Tony-the-Tiger cereal, as Newkirk claimed the title with a 10-0 win in four innings.

“We had a couple of good wins on Thursday and Friday,” PHS coach Brian Edward said Saturday. “Then, everything fell apart this morning.”

In their Thursday opener, the Huskies snapped Shidler’s 14-game unbeaten streak — although the Class B Tigers did not give it up easily. Seven early hits helped get Pawhuska out to an 8-0 lead in the third inning before the Tigers battled back by picking up one run in the fourth, another in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

The game-tying run was at the plate in the bottom of the seventh when PHS sophomore pitcher Caleb Bruce recorded his 13th strikeout of the contest to preserve the 8-5 victory.

Gage Dagenais belted a bases-loaded double to start the Huskie scoring in a five-run first inning. His hard liner over third brought home Hayden Javellas, who had led off the inning with a single, and also scored Chanler Collins and Bruce, who had both walked. Logan Trammel also had an RBI double for Pawhuska and a single by Jonathan Moody scored the Huskies’ other run.

The home team increased its advantage to 6-0 in the second and added two more runs in the third. Brycen Swan singled in one run and doubles by Trammel and Javellas accounted for the others. PHS was held hitless the rest of the way by the Shidler relief pitcher, T.J. Kuykendall.

Bruce struck out the side in the first and seventh innings. He scattered seven hits, while walking two Tiger batters and hitting another with a pitch. Shidler scored three times in the sixth on consecutive hits — with Michael Stevens doubling, Landon Roe getting a triple by Landon Roe and Carson Cook smashing a two-run homer over the right-center field fence.

Thursday’s late game saw the Tigers lose for the second time this season when they dropped a 6-5 decision to the 2A Pawnee Black Bears. for its Class 3A Newkirk walloped the 2A Hominy Bucks, 17-2, in the tourney’s other opening day game.

Pawhuska improved to 4-8 on the season Friday with its second win of the tournament — a run-rule victory, 12-4, over their arch-rivals from Pawnee.

DaGenais picked up the pitching victory with a gutsy complete-game four-hitter in which he struck out nine Bear batters in just five innings on the hill. Javellas and Collins scored three times each for PHS and junior T.J. Finn crossed the plate twice as a courtesy runner for the pitcher.

Pawnee put two runs on the board in the top of the first, but the Huskies got one of those back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Bruce. Both teams squandered scoring opportunities in the second before Dagenais retired the Bears in order to start the third. Pawhuska then grabbed a 3-2 advantage on a game-tying single from Colton Hindman and an RBI groundout by Trammel.

The visiting Black Bears regained the lead in the fourth inning, at 4-3, with a single and double following a pair of one-out walks. PHS benefitted from four straight bases on balls after one was out in the home half of the fourth. The fourth bases walk to Bruce forced in Swan with the tying run and Dagenais knocked in the tying and two go-ahead tallies by grounding a full-count offering through the middle.

An early end to the game came when the Huskies scored six more times in the fifth after DaGenais fanned the side in the top of the frame. Moody started the final uprising by ripping a leadoff single and he scored on a RBI hit by Javellas. Freshman Branden Wilson knocked in the sixth run of the inning, which brought the contest to an early conclusion.

PHS will next take part in the 12-team Oklahoma Union Tournament, which runs through Saturday at the fields in South Coffeyville. The Huskies are scheduled to play pool games Thursday at 10 a.m. against Oaks and at 2 p.m. versus the Bartlesville junior varsity. Saturday’s tourney contests begin for Pawhuska’s pool at 11:45 a.m.