OKMULGEE — The American National Bank Ardmore Cardinals continued to knock on the door of .500 ball this weekend in a three-game road trip to Okmulgee, winning the opener 11-8 over the Clarksville (Ark.) Tropics and falling in back-to-back contests to Okmulgee, 3-2 and 7-3.
"I felt like we played pretty well this weekend," said Cardinals head coach Bubba Tamez. "We got behind early but we battled back and gave ourselves some chances to win."
Ardmore (11-15) returns home this week for a doubleheader, hosting the Oklahoma City Roughnecks Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Lone Grove High School. Ardmore travels to Capitol Hill for a doubleheader Wednesday.
Ardmore 11, Clarksville (Ark.) 8
The Cardinals had been looking for some run production, which was no problem in Friday's opener.
After falling behind 8-3, the Cardinals scored five runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 8-8.
After a leadoff walk by Alec Hetherington (Seminole State/Davis), an error allowing Jared Hayes (Kingston) to reach base and a single by Donovan Kuykendall (Ardmore), Scott Brinkley (Tushka) cleared the bases with a triple — already his second of the contest.
Chase Crites (Murray State/Caney) would follow with an RBI double, scoring Brinkley and tying the game.
In the first extra inning, the Tigers didn't waste any time getting started, as Gage Goff (Rose State/Madill) drove in Brinkley and Cade Clay (Rattan) on a two-run triple. Hetherington would drive in Goff to give the Cardinals a three-run lead.
Justice Ruhnke (Lone Grove) started the game and pitched three innings, before being replaced by Hunter Evans (Coleman), who shutout the Tropics through the final five frames.
"Hunter did a really good job of cleaning up the mess," said Tamez. "We got down early but he held them there and gave our offense a chance to get back in the game and eventually take the lead."
Brinkley was 3-for-3 with two triples and four RBI. Kuykendall was 2-for-3 with two singles.
Dillon Atkinson (Lone Grove) had two RBIs.
Okmulgee 3, Ardmore 2
The nightcap featured far less offense and some stellar pitching.
Okmulgee jumped out to a 2-0 lead through three innings, before Ardmore would once again respond.
After a leadoff single by Clay, Brinkley would hit his third triple in two games, scoring Clay from first. Goff followed and knocked in Brinkley to tie the game at 2-2.
However, the Ardmore bats would slow down, as Okmulgee scored in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off win.
Brinkley pitched the complete game, scattering seven hits and striking out five.
"It was a really well pitched and well played game," Tamez said. "There wasn't a lot of offense, but the pitching was outstanding. Scott did a great job for us on the mound and pitched an excellent ball game."
Okmulgee 7, Ardmore 3
In a scheduled nine-inning game, Ardmore, again, fell behind early.
Okmulgee scored one in the first and four in the third to lead 5-0 before Ardmore would get things going offensively.
Hetherington lead off the fourth with a double and was followed by Devin Hartman (Plainview), who also doubled and knocked in Hetherington for the first run.
Ardmore finished the fourth with two more runs on an RBI single by Cade Carter (Colbert).
Okmulgee scored one run in the fourth and another in the eighth, while Ardmore was unable to do anything else at the plate.
Garrett Edwards (Hillsdale College/Ardmore) started and worked through three innings, before giving way to Kuykendall, who finished the game, pitching six innings and striking out two.
"Donovan came in and pitched great for us at the end," Tamez said. "He gave us an opportunity to get back in the game, but we just couldn't get the bats going for the second game in a row."
Hetherington was 2-for-3 and Hartman finished 2-for-4 with the RBI double.