By Andrew Glover
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Before Friday’s Class A state baseball quarterfinal game against the Roff Tigers, Glencoe Panthers coach Tony Cazzelle said he needed a good performance from his ace Nathan Melton. Unfortunately for Glencoe, it wasn’t Melton’s best day and nine fielding errors led to a 12-5 loss.
“We got our dauber down today,” Cazzelle said. “(Roff) executed their bunt game and we got a little frustrated and threw the ball around.”
Out of Roff’s 12 runs, only three were earned. The Tigers were able to work the count on Melton, making him labor through a lot of pitches.
The game started well for the Panthers as Melton hit the second pitch of the game over the left field fence for a home run. Roff tied the game in the second when Mike Anderson scored on a throwing error. Glencoe responded in the third as Jake Lazenby singled and Claytin Beaver doubled. Hunter Hall hit a sacrifice fly to put Glencoe back on top. In the bottom of the third, a wild pitch with the bases loaded tied the game 2-2.
Glencoe’s second baseman Sean Smith said they struggled holding the momentum.
“We ended up hanging our heads,” Smith said. “We made too many errors.”
The Panthers (25-10) would regain the lead once more when Brice Williams hit a run-scoring single, plating Smith. From that point the game would turn in favor of the Tigers.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Bryce Antonio hit a fly ball that went just under the glove of Glencoe centerfielder Ty Lazenby. Two runs scored to give Roff a 4-3 lead.
Cazzelle said he was proud of how his team competed.
“We swung the bats good,” Cazzelle said. “Nate didn’t have his best game but he battled.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, things got out off control for Glencoe. Roff’s Mike Anderson laid down a bunt that just stayed fair down the third base line. Melton tried to get the out at first but overthrew Beaver, allowing a run to score. Anderson made it to third. Zach Lewis bunted and Melton attempted to get Anderson out at home but the tag missed him. Two batters later, Cade Carpenter grounded into a fielder’s choice as Glencoe’s shortstop Taylor Cavett made the out at second. Cavett’s throw to first was late. Beaver tried to pick the runner off third but his throw was off line, allowing another run to score. The Panthers committed five errors in the inning.
Cazzelle said his team was forcing plays on defense.
“We made a few unnecessary throws,” Cazelle said. “They got five runs off our errors.”
The loss ended the careers of Taylor Cavett and Nathan Melton. Cazzelle said he was grateful for what both did for his program.
“They played for us for four years and led us to the state tournament,” Cazzelle said. “It gives us something to build on in the fall and next spring. Hopefully we will be coming back.”
The Tigers (23-12) advance to the semifinals and will play the winner of Wright City and Sterling. The tournament was suspended before the Wright City and Sterling game. A McCurtain County judge issued an injunction Friday morning to allow Wright City to play after it had to forfeit for playing too many regular season games. According to a document on the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association website, OSSAA will appeal the decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday morning.