MCALESTER — After losing three-straight games to open the East/West Showdown, Claremore was desperate for a win.
In those losses, the Zebras gave up 16 runs total in the fifth through seventh innings. Against El Reno, though, it was their turn to light it up late.
Sparked by a pair of leadoff singles from Dylan Gettinger and Cooper Dotson, Claremore tallied nine hits and seven runs in the sixth inning, leading to an 11-4 win over the Indians at Northeast Oklahoma State Junior College in McAlester on Friday.
Matt Wofford gave the Zebras the lead with their third hit of the frame, driving in Gettinger with a single to centerfield.
Dotson then scored on a wild pitch, and Jake Gilmore followed up with an RBI single to score Wofford. Not to be outdone, Noah Smallwood smacked a line-drive double to centerfield, adding yet another run.
A trio of singles from Brooks Sherl, Tristin Hampton and Trevor Janzen brought the score to 9-3, but Claremore wasn’t done taking its frustrations out on El Reno just yet.
The rotation reached Dotson again, and he didn’t disappoint, hitting his second single of the inning to score Kaden Renfroe.
Indians pitcher Dalton Kudron finally got out of the inning with a strikeout of Brady Priess, but Hampton put El Reno down quickly in the bottom half to put the Zebras at the plate once more.
Hampton earned the win on the mound for the Zebras despite tallying only one strikeout while allowing two hits and three runs in six innings.
Smallwood drove in Wofford with a single for the team’s final run. The Indians managed to trim the deficit with an RBI single to leftfield in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough to forge a comeback.
El Reno’s Kudron surrendered eight hits and seven runs, striking out four.
Smallwood, Sherl, Hampton, Dotson, Pries and Wofford accounted for 12 of Claremore’s 15 hits, recording two apiece.
The Zebras lost to Shawnee, 8-3, late on Thursday and dropped a close one to Piedmont, 9-6, in the first half of their doubleheader on Friday.
Claremore (14-10, 8-2 in District 5A-3) returns to the diamond for a huge district matchup with Coweta at 5 p.m. on Monday. A win would push the Zebras to second place in District 5A-3 behind Pryor.