Huskies split at conference tournament

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Randsom Jones pitched a one-hit shutout Friday afternoon in the North Country Baseball Conference tournament, defeating Newkirk by a score of 3-0.

FAIRFAX — The Newkirk Tigers would probably be happy if they could arrange to never see Randsom Jones again. Jones shut them down last Friday afternoon in a 3-0 shutout at the North Country Baseball Conference tournament.

Jones plowed through the Newkirk lineup without serious opposition with the exception of a few tense minutes in the top of the fourth inning. In that frame, Jones hit the first batter and the next one bunted his way on. The third hitter, apparently sensing an opportunity, laid down a bunt but Jones fielded the ball himself and threw to first for the out.

Of the remaining two hitters in the top of the fourth, one struck out swinging and the second grounded out to second. The challenge was over. There would be no more Newkirk baserunners.

Jones didn’t get any run support until the bottom of the fifth, in what had emerged as a pitchers’ duel. Pawhuska scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the bottom of the sixth to give Jones a reasonable three-run cushion heading into his last half-inning.

The Huskies stayed on the field after their win over Newkirk and prepared for a nightcap against the Tonkawa Buccaneers. With Ryan Jones, Randsom’s younger brother, on the mound it began to look like another shutout in the making.

Ryan Jones pitched five scoreless innings and went to the top of the sixth with a 2-0 lead. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Jones walked a hitter and things came unraveled. By the time the half-inning ended, Tonkawa had established a 5-2 lead. The Buccaneers added a run to their total in the top of the seventh against reliever Gabe Letzkus and won the game, 6-2.

The loss dropped the Huskies to 6-7 for the season and the Buccaneers went on to defeat Barnsdall, 2-1, on Saturday to win the tournament.

Pawhuska coach Chris Rumsey lamented less-than-stellar play behind Ryan Jones during the ill-fated sixth inning of the Huskies’ second game Friday. Rumsey said he had a list of things for his team to work on to improve.