This matchup had all the makings of an all-time classic.
Twenty-one runs. Twenty-seven hits. Four home runs, including a grand slam.
It was bonkers, and it is too bad we didn’t get a chance to experience something similar during the 2020 Claremore baseball season. I guess you can only go with what you have, which in this case is a boardgame simulation.
It was exciting, nonetheless. The Zebras outlasted Booker T. Washington for a thrilling 12-9 win despite surrendering three homers.
The bats were firing early for the Zebras, with Brooks Sherl, Trevor Janzen and Ethan Grimett each tallying a single in the top of the first. Grimett’s came with an RBI, giving Claremore a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take the Hornets long to even the score, though, for Wes O’Malley and Brogan Williams opened the bottom half with a single and a double, respectively, allowing Kortay Vincent to bring home the latter with a sacrifice fly.
Sherl answered back in the second, singling in Cash Flegal to put the Zebras back in front.
There were eight hits between the teams through two innings — six belonging to Claremore — but things didn’t truly get hot until the third.
With the bases loaded, Flegal increased the lead with an RBI single, and Noah Smallwood followed with a 2-RBI single, scoring Carson Young and Cameron Palmer.
Sherl then added two more runs to the tally with his third hit of the game, ripping a triple to score Flegal and Smallwood and balloon the advantage to 7-1.
BTW wasn’t quite ready to surrender, though.
The Hornets immediately loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single from O’Malley, and Vincent pounded a grand slam shortly thereafter to make it a two-run game.
Ethan Shupe then recorded a solo home run only two at-bats after Vincent’s bomb, bringing the score to 7-6.
Claremore’s Young joined the home-run party with a four-bagger of his own in the fourth, which was preceded by Gannon Sherl scoring Grimett with an RBI triple. That quick spurt gave the Zebras a little more breathing room at 10-6.
Both teams cooled down through the next two frames, but BTW turned up the heat again in the bottom of the fifth.
A sac fly from Jesse Slimp ended the short drought, and almost as if on cue, Shupe blasted his second homer in as many at-bats — this one a two-runner — to bring the score to 10-9.
A scoreless sixth inning promised a fun finish, and Claremore earned just that.
Janzen opened the frame with a single, and Gannon Sherl brought him home two at-bats later with a single of his own.
Palmer then smacked an RBI double, capping the scoring in the process.
Despite having their two home-run hitters at the plate in the bottom half, the Hornets’ magic finally ran out with three-straight ground outs.
In all, the Zebras — led by coach’s sons Brooks and Gannon Sherl — outhit BTW 18-9. The brothers were phenomenal at the plate, combining for seven hits and 5 RBIs.
Brooks Sherl, a junior, went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs while his younger brother Gannon, a freshman, finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Both tallied a triple in the win.
Smallwood, Janzen, Young, Palmer and Flegal also managed multiple hits for the Zebras, finishing with two apiece and a combined 6 RBIs.
O’Malley and Shupe came away with two hits each to lead the Hornets. Shupe’s two home runs earned him 3 RBIs.