Third innings were the undoing of Chickasha baseball in Blanchard, as the hosts used both times in a double-header Tuesday to put together scoring-runs that took them to back-to-back victories.
In fact, without the third inning slump the result would have better reflected the play both games than the 10-3 and 8-3 score lines suggest. The Fightin' Chicks took the lead in the second inning both times before being pinned back by Blanchard bats.
On top of the offensive play that took Chickasha to the lead, the team's effort came behind impressive pitching performances by players looking to make the rotation in the upcoming season. Left-hander Brandon Shumway kept Blanchard off the board through two innings by not letting up any hits and getting two strikeouts.
"Brandon showed good stuff," head coach Brad Gore said. "But, he just kind of lost it."
After walking a couple of batters and a few fielding errors, Shumway's night was over as Mario Medina saw out the inning but not before the Tigers tacked on 10 runs. Some solid base running from catcher Tresjon Davis got one run back for Chickasha in the top of the fifth.
While it was a difficult first game to swallow for Chickasha in the summer Red Dirt League, the games are more about instruction and learning than about the end result. Many of the teams use this time to give players time in a new position, such as pitching. Gore has been rotating underclassmen like Shumway, Medina, and Brock Henderson to provide them with a real test on the mound.
"We're going to do that with our young pitchers," Gore said.
It is also more about blending a team that will most likely share the field come next spring.
"I've see a lot of effort from the guys this summer," Gore said. "It's one thing to lose the game, but I'd rather see them try their hardest and lose than not put in the effort."
Henderson, who started the second game, also had two strikeouts and had let up two hits and one run before the third inning collapse.
The Fightin' Chicks came into this game off of an even record in a Blanchard tournament last weekend. They went 2-2, beating the likes of Carl Albert and Lone Grove and giving coach Gore reason to smile.
"We played good in that tournament," Gore said. "I was happy to see that."