Jul. 10—The Plainsmen closed out the Big Fire Pocket Radar Invitational on Saturday with wins over the Oklahoma Jets 18U and the Wichita River Bandits 18U to win the championship with a 4-0 record on the weekend.
Enid knocked off the Jets in the semifinals 13-3 before taking down the River Bandits 6-4 in a tightly contested game at Northwest Oklahoma State University. The Plainsmen jumped out to a big lead in the first game and never looked back.
Seth Carlson started on the mound and threw five and two-third innings and allowed just two runs. Carlson held a one-hit shutout until the fifth inning and walked three batters.
Despite coming into the summer as a major question mark for the Plainsmen in 2022, Enid’s young pitching staff has continued to show improvement. At the Big Fire tournament, they walked just nine batters in the four games they played.
“I think our pitching staff made great strides this weekend,” Corporal said.
The River Bandits played the Plainsmen tight in the championship game. They trailed 6-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, before reeling off three straight runs to load the bases, before Enid was able to get out of the jam and record the final out.
Dallas Goodpasture started the game and threw six innings and gave up a run in the first before holding the River Bandits scoreless for five straight innings. He walked the lead-off batter in the seventh and was replaced.
The Plainsmen finished the tournament with a run differential of +41 including a 20-0 win in their second game against the Sluggers Baseball Club on Friday. Enid head coach Brad Gore said that the team’s success this weekend wasn’t due to a lack of quality opponents.
“The River Bandits team had a lot of graduated kids,” Gore said. “I’d say they’d be a nice Connie Mack team, they wouldn’t be a top-end Connie Mack team by any means, but they were a team that gave us a good game. We had a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh and they scored three in the inning and had the bases loaded and they got out of it.”
Gore credits the team’s success this summer to its willingness to play a difficult schedule that includes games against teams with rosters that were hand-picked from the best high schools in the state.
“We haven’t been playing an easy schedule by any means,” he said. “We go into these Connie Mack Tournaments and these guys are 18U and all these guys are full of good players off of everybody’s teams and we’ve actually been competing really well. I really think one of our keys is that we played in these tough tournaments, and it’s made us better because of it.”
Garrett Shull had another big day at the plate, including two RBI in the championship game. Brock Slater landed a big hit with the bases loaded, two outs and two strikes that drove in a couple runs.
“I was just really proud of our kids. They played really hard this week,” Gore said.
The Plainsmen are scheduled to play next in the Connie Mack State Tournament on July 14-18 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Masri is sports editor for the Enid News & Eagle.
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