BASEBALL: Collinsville muddies Claremore's home regional hopes

Apr. 19—Claremore's chance of hosting a regional took a major hit Tuesday night.

Just 24 hours after the Zebras defeated Collinsville for the first time since 2017, the Cardinals exacted their revenged with an 8-3 victory in District 5A-4 action at Pat Colpitt Field. They wasted little time doing so, tallying six runs in the first inning alone.

Claremore seemingly picked up where it left off in the series opener when Brad Hoisington scored on a passed ball in the top of the first, but Collinsville quickly atoned for that mistake.

The Cardinals blasted two home runs within three pitches, with Colton Hollenbeck and Jonathan Badgwell both sending the ball over the center-field wall to give their team a 4-1 edge. Cal Schlomann and Carson Duncan followed with a pair of RBI singles, pushing the lead to 6-1.

Zach Hale relieved acting pitcher Marcos Sallee after the inning concluded, but the damage was already done.

The Zebras got a runner on third in the second but couldn't capitalize, and Collinsville increased its lead again when Preston Willis plated Bentley Brown with a sacrifice fly. Tyson Grimett responded with an RBI single in the third, scoring Dan Harrington, but Claremore again left a runner stranded at third.

It was a pitcher's duel from there on, with both teams struggling to string together hits to make substantial moves on the base paths.

Finally, after more than two innings of no runs, Sallee sent a solo homer to center field in the sixth to make it a 7-3 spread. Unfortunately for the Zebras, that wasn't enough to spark a comeback.

Talan Rush singled in Diego Rivera in the bottom half, concluding the game's scoring.

Claremore had a couple of chances to rally in the seventh when Hale and Grimett led off the frame with a single and a double, respectively. However, Gunner Holm was tagged while advancing to home after the latter, and Lucas Dupont was held up at second on the ensuing groundout. Dupont eventually made it to third thanks to a Connor Rowe single, but a fly out on the next at-bat ended the game.

Despite the loss, the Zebras outhit the Cardinals 12-11. Rowe led the way with a 4-for-4 outing at the plate, while Sallee recorded three hits and Hale and Grimett added two apiece.

Sallee took the loss on the mound after surrendering the two home runs, but he still managed two strikeouts on 39 pitches. Hale pitched 4.2 innings of relief — tossing seven strikeouts on 78 pitches while allowing five hits, one run and two walks — and Grimett closed the game, earning the final out.

Grady Smith led Collinsville with three hits while Duncan and Rush both had two. JJ Burwell earned the win, delivering eight strikeouts through five innings while allowing eight hits, two runs and two balls on 78 pitches. Madaxon Aunko threw two innings of relief.

With the loss, Claremore (20-9, 7-3) now sits two games behind the Cardinals (23-4, 9-1) in the district standings. It does hold the advantage in district points (58-48), though, so the Zebras could still host a regional if they sweep Grove next week while Collinsville loses both games to district leader Pryor.