The Fightin' Chicks baseball team was very close to ending Monday's game against Elgin after the top of the fifth inning, but a few mistakes kept the game going and almost led to a comeback by Duncan at Elliot Field.
Chickasha won 16-10 and swept Duncan in the season series after beating the Demons on Friday as well. But, the Chicks almost let this one slip away.
With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, and Chickasha up 9-1, an error on the throw from third to first on a ground ball kept the inning alive. Duncan went on to score five runs in that half of the inning, extending the game.
Chickasha scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Duncan again answered with four runs in the top of the sixth inning to make it 11-10 going into the bottom of the sixth.
The Chicks were again able to answer, however, and scored five runs on one hit, five walks, and one hit-by-pitch. John Mitchell, who had given up a two-run home run in the top of the sixth in while pitching in relief, got his fifth hit of the game, a three-RBI double.
Mitchell had a monster game offensively, going 5-for-5 with eight RBIs.
Duncan went scoreless in the top of the seventh inning, and the Fightin' Chicks went on to get the victory.
Blake Burns started the game on the mound for Chickasha, and pitched 4.1 innings. He left the game with a 9-1 lead, but had allowed several runners on base by the time he left the game.
"Blake pitched really well, and then he kind of lost it," head coach Brad Gore said. "He's been pitching really well, and there is a lot of emotion in the game. I think he kind of got caught up in that. He's kind of our emotional leader. So he's got to learn when he pitches to tone it down a little bit."
Tyler Lippincott entered the game in relief, but only recorded one out before being pulled in favor of Ryker Steelman, who finished the inning.
Mitchell closed the game, pitching the sixth and seventh innings.
"The middle relievers didn't pound the zone like we needed to and got behind [in the count]," Gore said. "[Lippincott and Steelman] are both young guys. Overall, I thought the guys hung in there."
Lane Smith went 1-for-1 in the game, walked twice and was HBP twice. On both of his walks, he brought a run in. Luke Dixon went 0-for-1, but reached base four straight times on walks, scored three runs and had one RBI.
Gore obviously wasn't happy that his team allowed the game to get that close, but also said he understands that the most important thing in district games is the final score.
"However you win these district games is good," Gore said. "That was a big one for us. Now we've got five district games left, and it looks like it could come down to the last week for second place. I'm excited that the kids are finally playing harder."
Gore said the team is beginning to understand how to play Chickasha baseball, and that he is starting to see the seniors on the team step up and be leaders.
"We're getting like we always have been," Gore said. "We fight to the end and don't give up, and that's kind of been our M.O around here. Hopefully we're getting this thing turned in the right direction."
Chickasha begins play in the Bill Tipton VIII tournament today, and the tournament goes through Saturday.
Today, Chickasha plays Shawnee at Shawnee High School at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday at noon, the Fightin' Chicks will play the Oklahoma City Broncos at Shawnee, followed by a game against Bishop McGuinness.
The Chicks will wrap up pool play in Yukon with a game against Yukon at 4 p.m. Friday.
Saturday's games will be at Carl Albert and Shawnee, and the matchups will be determined by the results of pool play.
There will be six games Saturday, so the bottom two teams after pool play will be eliminated.