The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Tigers, Bronchos split


April 20, 2018

Eric Murray

Elida's Kaull Burton tries to connect with a first inning pitch during Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader against Grady. The Tigers won the second game, 12-2, after the Bronchos survived Game 1, 8-6 in eight innings.

ELIDA — Baylee Oder's eight strikeouts in a dominating performance helped lead his Elida High baseball team past the Grady Bronchos, 12-2, in Game 2 of Thursday's 1A/2A-District 4/6 baseball doubleheader. The Bronchos took Game 1 in eight innings, 8-6.

After Grady (4-8, 4-6) managed to find a way to win Game 1 in eight innings, despite blowing a six-run lead late, things swung heavily in the favor of Elida (3-7, 3-7) during the second game. Oder came out strong with six strikeouts through the first three innings, fanning the side in the third inning along the way.

Eventually, Oder found himself perfect through four innings, before giving up multiple hits and a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. "My pitcher threw really well," Tigers coach Jimmy Ward said, smiling.

"That's the most pitches he's thrown all year, he went up to 98. He threw strikes and he was good. We got along really good, hit the ball a little bit. That's the first time we've done that in awhile."

While Oder was dominating on the mound, the Tiger hitters dominated at the plate. An RBI double from Kaull Burton kicked things off in the first inning for Elida, before a throwing error on a pickoff throw at third base brought in another Tiger run.

Two more runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the second inning, but it was the third inning that proved to be especially strong for the Tigers. A wild pitch brought home Burton, before Hadlee Oder's single to center field plated Teigan Burton and Rylan Creighton.

Yet another throwing error on a pickoff attempt led to another Tiger run, and then, Elida struck with another four runs in the fourth. Oder, meanwhile, eventually had his perfect game broken up by a Chisum Rush double to the center field fence, in an inning where the Bronchos had two runs on three hits.

"The first game, we did real well. We played good baseball, pitching is good (and) we hit the ball real well," Bronchos coach Jared Piepkorn said. "The second one, a little different story. We have a whole bunch of games in not very many days. We've got something like 10 games in eight days, and you run through a whole lot of pitching.

"We played a couple guys on the mound in that second game that are very inexperienced in pitching, and it showed. But they're learning, and that's the name of the game."

In fact, following a slow start, Piepkorn's Bronchos have won four of their last six games, as Grady continues to gain experience with each passing contest.

As for Ward, inexperience has also been a problem, as his young Tigers squad features three freshmen and an eighth grader. "We're right in nearly every game, but we're still pretty young," Ward explained.

"We're gonna have to really work, defensively, and we're gonna have to work on our bats a bunch. Our bats are still a little weak, but we're gonna be alright."


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