TAHLEQUAH — Kooper McAlvain delivered a go-ahead two-run single, and Seth Stacey tossed seven strong innings as Tahlequah avenged a Thursday loss to defeat Claremore, 5-2, Friday in Tahlequah.
McAlvain’s base hit to center field came during a three-run fourth inning that gave the Tigers the lead for good at 3-2. The single came on an 0-2 pitch and scored Nelijah Tatum and Tyler Joice.
Joice bunted and reached on an error by Zebra pitcher Brady Priess to start the rally as it pushed across Stacey. Tahlequah began the inning with back-to-back singles from Stacey and Tatum.
The Tigers, now 13-15 overall under head coach Nathan Frisby, complete district play at an even 7-7. They close with the same mark as Tulsa Booker T. Washington, but finish behind the Hornets due to a tie-breaker, putting them fifth in the final standings. They lost both matchups with the Hornets in 5-4 and 11-3 setbacks.
Stacey recorded his sixth win of the season. He threw six scoreless innings, striking out seven batters and allowing five hits on 92 pitches, 56 of those strikes. The junior left-hander retired the final five batters he faced and retired the side in order twice. He upped his season strikeout total to 57 across 33.2 innings and tossed his fifth complete game.
Tahlequah added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth to complete the scoring. McAlvain was in the center of the scoring again. He reached on a two-base error by Claremore left fielder Jake Gilmore with two outs, allowing both Goodnight and Stacey to cross home plate. Goodnight led off with a walk, and Stacey followed with a single to center. Joice advanced Goodnight to third and Stacey to second on a groundout.
The Zebras got their only runs during the third on a two-run double to left by Trevor Janzen, which scored Gilmore and Noah Smallwood.
Both teams collected five hits. Stacey paced the Tigers with two hits, and four players had one hit apiece for the Zebras. Janzen had the game’s only extra-base hit on his third-inning double, and both Janzen and McAlvain shared game-high honors with two RBIs.
Tate Christian and Tatum had Tahlequah’s other two hits.
Priess went the distance and took the loss for Claremore. He allowed one earned run over six innings and logged eight strikeouts while issuing four walks.
Claremore drops to 18-11 overall and 11-3 in district.
By Byron Beers
---Tahlequah Daily Press