MARLOW — Davis coach Chance Linville praised the impact the four seniors had on his program.
The Wolves’ 12-8 loss to Sulphur on Friday in Marlow ended the careers of Braden Ruth, Dalton Ingram, Paxton Killblane and Drew Melton.
Linville said the seniors were the first ones to the diamond and the last ones to leave.
“They’ve helped get our program headed in the right direction,” Linville said. “You can’t say enough about them.”
Sophomore J.T. Maynard said the four seniors made an invaluable difference.
“(They had) a big impact. Having Braden all three years, and even those other three coming back for this year, it was big because it gave us a lot of leadership and it helped us come together as a family more,” Maynard said.
Cole Palmer nearly beat Davis by himself. The Bulldogs’ sophomore outfielder hit a pair of home runs, and added an RBI double to complete the scoring.
Three swings of his bat drove in six runs, and helped to end Davis’ season with a 13-14 record.
Palmer hit a two-run home run in the first, then extended Sulphur’s lead to 5-1 with a three-run shot an inning later. Davis starting pitcher Blanton Tucker issued a two-out walk to Sulphur’s No. 9 hitter, Noah Gordon.
Four hitters later, Palmer hit his second home run.
Maynard, Davis’ sophomore first baseman, said two-out walks can be just as costly as free passes to the lead-off hitter.
“The top of the lineup’s coming up, and they have good hitters at the top of the lineup,” Maynard said. “We’ve just got to get outs.
“That’s the way it works sometimes.”
Davis and Sulphur played their fourth game against one another. In this contest, both teams’ seasons were on the line.
“We knew what they had,” Maynard said. “We just knew that we’d have to play good to win it.”
Poor pitch location cost Davis in its attempts to rally. Hunter Karlik relieved Tucker to begin the fourth, and Sulphur tagged him for three runs — two of them earned.
“Karlik was missing his locations, and they were hitting it like they’re supposed to when you leave the ball in the middle,” Linville said.
In the sixth, Palmer pulled an RBI double down the third base line, past a diving Ruth.
Davis did not help themselves offensively against Sulphur pitcher Nick Magruder in the early innings.
“We knew we weren’t taking good at-bats in the first,” Maynard said.
Ruth’s RBI double scored Karlik to give Davis a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, Davis fought back, scoring five runs to reduce its deficit to 11-8.
“He started struggling,” Maynard said of Magruder. “We knew we had to start taking some pitches. That’s what we did. It worked for us.”
Ty Crenshaw relieved Magruder, and induced a groundout by Karlik to end the inning.
Linville said his team will begin work this summer to improve for next season. That doesn’t resolve the immediate pain of the loss.
“It sucks, losing to them, the big rivals,” Maynard said. “It hurts a little bit, but we’ve just got to put it behind us and work harder for next year.”
Hunter Karlik, Tucker and Tyler Brubaker are underclassman infielders and pitchers who give Davis a strong core.
Maynard, left fielder Lance Chronister and designated hitter Jace Garrison are also underclassmen.
Sulphur coach Corey Cole said Ruth went through the same kind of emotions that the Bulldogs’ four seniors did.
“What a decorated high school athlete,” Cole said of Ruth. “It finally comes to end, it’s tough on kids. You hate it for ‘em.
“Life’s not about being knocked down. It’s how you respond to it.”