SHERMAN, Texas — In terms of talent, the Ardmore Cardinals are loaded, coach Greg Ferguson said.
But errors and base-running miscues cost Ardmore in its two losses at Grayson College on Friday.
Ferguson said the host school had a representative in attendance.
The DFW Twins defeated Ardmore 5-3 in the first game, and D-BAT Meisner won 4-2 to drop the Cardinals back under .500, at 8-9.
“It’s embarrassing because talent-wise, we’re loaded,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been better than both of these teams we played today. We were a lot better than them. We had three mental errors base running that cost us three runs throughout the day. The first two cost us the game. We would’ve tied the ball game, and who knows what would’ve happened come the sixth inning.
“Mental mistakes are going to beat us every time because talent-wise, we’re just as good as anybody we play.”
The top three hitters in the Twins’ order scored all five runs, leading off the game with a pair of doubles. An error and another double followed to put Ardmore in a 3-0 deficit before it had a chance to bat.
In the third inning, Ardmore pitcher Cade Clay drew a two-out walk. Lone Grove graduate Tanner Vernon entered as the courtesy runner for the Southeastern pitcher. Murray State’s Cade Carter doubled to right-center, but Vernon was thrown out at the plate. Ferguson said Vernon should’ve scored easily on Carter’s double, but Vernon was trotting around the bases because he thought the Murray State catcher hit a home run.
The Twins maintained their 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Tishomingo alum Clayton Cramer blooped a single that landed on the edge of the infield dirt. Sulphur rising senior Ty Crenshaw followed, and he grounded to the third baseman, whose throwing error allowed Cramer to advance to third base. He scored on a wild pitch to draw within 3-1.
The Cardinals gave away a pair of runs in the next half-inning.
Ardmore also left a run at third base in the sixth inning, as a base runner missed a sign on Cramer’s sac bunt attempt. The Twins’ 1-3-2 double play ended the frame.
In the second game, the Cardinals could not muster hits with runners in scoring position. Ardmore stranded five runners over the final four innings. Vernon struck out chasing a high fastball to end the fourth with the bases loaded — the score tied 2-2.
He softly punched his bat as he departed the batter’s box.
“It’s part of the game, but it is really, really frustrating, to get runners in scoring position early in the inning with no outs,” Ferguson said. “I think there was three times where we got runners on first base with no outs. I don’t think a single one of them scored.
“It is part of the game, but at the same time, you’ve got to step up and swing the bat.”
Added Vernon, “I just get really mad sometimes. I’m mad at myself.”
A wild pitch in the fifth plated the winning run for D-BAT Meisner.
In the sixth, Ardmore’s first two hitters reached. Cramer, the courtesy runner at second base, was picked off with his team trailing 3-2. His teammates thought the play could’ve gone either way, but Cramer disagreed with the umpire’s ruling.
“I don’t think (I was tagged out),” he said.
Ferguson appealled the umpire’s ruling, but to no avail.
Plainview alum Drake Harper played both games at third base, and he went 3 for 6 with a walk and a run scored in each contest.
Fellow Plainview grad Carter Bowker played in the second game, and he went 1 for 2 with a walk.
Despite the pair of losses, Carter — who redshirted in 2014 — said the team has improved since its season began on June 2.
“We’ve got a ways to go,” Carter said. “We’re coming together. We’re playing a lot better here lately. Definitely a lot better. Where we started and where we’re at right now, there’s a big difference in the level of play.”