It was baseball “old-school” at Green Sports Complex and PCC this weekend as the Pratt 86ers and the Pratt Recreation Department once again sponsored the Smoky Ford Wood Bat Tournament featuring eight teams from as far away as Lamar, Colorado.
The Pratt 86ers got the weekend off to a good start, downing Lyons to begin pool play on Friday night. Unfortunately, the 86ers dropped their next three contests to take 6th place in the tourney.
Most games were played at Smoky Ford Field in Green Sports Complex, but a few games were played at PCC’s Stanion Field. Games washed out Thursday night had to be made up, and it was decided to play the 3rd place game and the championship game simultaneously on Sunday to let Dodge City and Paola (the championship match-up) people get an earlier departure.
Dodge City won their pool, defeating Lamar 6-2, Alva 6-2 and Larned 10-0. Alva beat Larned 10-0 and Lamar 10-1 to play for 3rd. Lamar bested Larned 3-1 to play for 6th and Larned played for 8th.
In the other pool, Paola and Garden City both went 2-1, Paola losing to Lyons and Garden dropping one to Paola. Paola played for the tourney title by virtue of the tiebreaker. Pratt played for 6th and Lyons for 8th due to the tiebreaker also.
In their opening game Friday night against Lyons, the 86ers gave up a pair of runs the top of the first, but plated 3 of their own in the bottom half thanks in large part to the Lyons pitcher’s inaccuracy. The 86ers added another in the 3rd as Brett Forshee led off with a walk and came around to score after a couple of Lyons errors.
Lyons tied up the game in the 5th with a couple of runs, then took the lead pushing across two more in the 6th. Trailing by 2 in the bottom of the 6th, the 86ers exhibited some of the best offensive execution they would muster on the weekend.
Joel Clark and Jacob Kurz reached base via the base on balls, and Drake Evert drove Clark home with a single. Will Fellhoelter laid down a sac bunt putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Brett Forshee slapped a single to plate the pair. Forshee would later score on a single by Devon Evert and the 86ers had put a 4 on the board to take a two-run lead to the 7th inning.
Drake Evert on the mound for Pratt turned Lyons aside and Pratt had the 8-6 come-from-behind win. Evert pitched a complete game for the win— walking 4, giving up 4 hits and fanning 4.
The bats went cold for the 86ers against their next two opponents however, and Pratt dropped into the 6th place game by losing decisions to Garden City 10-0 and Paola 6-2.
Page 2 of 2 - The 6th place game vs. Lamar on Sunday was an exercise in frustration as the 86ers rallied from behind twice to stave off defeat, but could never get the big hit when they needed it to claim the victory—and they eventually fell 11-10 in 11 innings.
After allowing 4 runs to Lamar to open the game, Pratt came back with 3 of their own in the bottom of one to get back in the contest. Easton Herring led off with a BB, Jacob Kurz singled and Joel Clark walked. All 3 would score as Drake Evert and Brett Forshee had RBIs in the frame.
Pratt got it tied in the 2nd when Herring led off with a double and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch.
Over the next four innings, Lamar outscored Pratt 4-1 to seize control of the game. Trailing 8-5 going into the bottom of 7th, Will Fellhoelter started a rally for the 86ers by drawing a walk. Dakota Venard singled and Lamar misplayed the ball putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Camden Sweet hit behind the runners, picking up an RBI on the fielder’s choice. Down to the final out, Brandon Kelling worked a BB, Easton Herring managed an infield hit and Jacob Kurz singled to get the game tied and send it to extras.
In the 8th, Lamar failed to score and Pratt left the winning run stranded at 3rd base. In the 9th, the 86ers left the bases loaded. Lamar pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the 10th, but the 86ers again staved off defeat. They rallied for two tallies, but again left the winning run on 3rd base.
Lamar scratched out a run in the top of the 11th. After the first two 86ers made out in the bottom of the 11th, Pratt again looked like they might be able to extend the contest yet again as the next three batters reached via a BB, an HBP and an error. But the inning ended on a pop-up and the 86ers had let another chance to win slip away.
In other bracket play games on Sunday, Larned beat Lyons 5-2 for 7th. Dodge City shut out Paola 7-0 to win the tourney.
The 86ers travel to Woodward for a tournament this weekend beginning on July 4th.