Huskies hope for a tournament turnaround

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

When the Pawhuska High School Baseball Tournament starts Thursday, it should give the Huskies a perfect opportunity to get back on the winning track.

Monday, the PHS squad dropped its third game in a row when the visiting Shidler Tigers escaped with a 7-2 victory. A five-run third inning — in which the Tigers had only two hits — gave Shidler pitcher Adam Hollingsworth all he needed. The season record of the Huskies drew even at 5-5 following a pair of hard-luck road losses last week at Dewey and Sperry.

Pawhuska had twice rallied to the lead in Tuesday’s meeting with Dewey. But, the Doggers scored the contest’s final eight runs in taking a 12-4 win. In Thursday’s game at Sperry, a dropped fly ball with the bases loaded and two out snapped a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning and sent the Pirates to a 6-2 triumph.

“We have let a few slip away that we probably could have won,” PHS coach Bryan Edwards said. “We’re a young team that’s got to get better.”

Shidler took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first Monday when Dylan Nash drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on a Tyler Kuykendall single. The Huskies tied it with a run in the home half of the inning. Price Perrier walked and eventually scored on a fielders’ choice. The Tigers’ big third included only two hits, with the rest of the damage attributable to walks, errors and a hit batsman.

PHS senior ace Gage Dagenais went to the mound in relief and held the visitors hitless over 2 2/3 innings. Shidler scored another run, however, on a dropped third strike and consecutive errors. Caleb Bruce relieved Dagenais in the sixth and gave up no runs over the final two frames. With the bat, Bruce ripped doubles in the third and fifth. Taylor Walker doubled home Hayden Henley with the second Huskie run.

Hollingsworth, a senior, scattered five hits, while recording five strikeouts and walking three. The victory snapped a two-game skid for the Tigers, who improved to 7-5 on the year.

DEWEY 12, PHS 4

Huskie batters collected three hits (all singles) by Caleb Bruce, Price Perrier and Randsom Jones. Perrier scored two PHS runs, while Jones and Taylor Walker each crossed the plate once. Dagenais and Nick Edwards had RBI for the Huskies. Dewey finished with 13 hits, including six for extra bases.

Dewey put up a run in the bottom of the first inning to grab the initial advantage before the Huskies scored twice in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Perrier walked and moved to third when Jones singled to right. Both PHS baserunners then crossed the plate on a Dogger error.

The home team tied the contest with lone tally in the home half of third, but the Huskies went back ahead at the start of the fourth when a sacrifice fly by Edwards brought in Walker to give the visitors a 3-2 edge. Dewey regained the lead by adding a pair of runs later in the fourth.

Pawhuska evened things at 4-4 in the top of the fifth, when its final run of the game was scored. Perrier led off with a single before advancing to second base on an error, third off a passed ball and home on a misplayed hit off the bat of Dagenais. Three runs in the bottom of the fifth put the Doggers in front to stay, and they cinched the victory by piling on five more in the sixth.

PHS starting pitcher Hayden Henley was relieved by Bruce, who came in to get the last out of fourth after Dewey had taken a 4-3 lead. Hard-throwing freshman Gunner Bankston started for the Doggers. Bankston struck out seven batters, walked three and gave up two hits before being replaced by Williams in the fifth.

A dozen errors were evenly divided between the Doggers and Huskies, who had to contend with gale-force winds throughout the contest.

SPERRY 6, HUSKIES 2

Pawhuska let some scoring opportunities slip away and gave up the winning runs on dropped fly balls. The Huskies finished with seven hits and made three errors. Sperry had six hits and committed no errors.

PHS took a one-run lead in the top of the second inning. Leadoff triple to center field by Dagenais, who scored on a wild pitch. Sperry tied the game by scoring one in the bottom of the third off a two-out hit batsmen and an RBI double.

The score remained tied until the Pirates put three runs across in the fifth. All the damage came with two outs. Following a leadoff single and error, a two-out walk loaded the bases and a dropped fly ball allowed three to score.

Pawhuska trimmed the Pirates’ lead to 4-2 with a run in the top of the sixth. Dagenais led off with a double and scored on Nick Edwards’ single. PHS left the bases loaded in that inning. Sperry used three hits to plate two more in the home half of the sixth and then held the Huskies scoreless in the seventh.

Dagenais collected three hits (a single, double and triple) and scored both Huskie runs. His fourth at-bat came with none aboard in the seventh inning, when he flew out to right field for game’s final out. Dagenais also relieved starting pitcher Randsom Jones in the sixth.

Other PHS hits (all singles) by Caleb Bruce, Price Perrier and Brycen Swan.