Special to The Sun
After rallying for two runs in the seventh inning to send the game into overtime, the Edmond Memorial Bulldogs yielded six runs to Southmoore in the ninth in suffering an 11-5 defeat in the American Legion regional finals.
The Bulldogs reached the championship round thanks to some batting heroics by third baseman Evan Nicklas. Trailing crosstown rival Edmond North, 4-2, going into the bottom of the seventh, Nicklas came to bat with the bases loaded and delivered a two-out double that cleared the bases and gave Memorial a 5-4 victory and the Southern Division championship and a ticket to the regional finals against Southmoore.
After falling behind 2-0 in the championship game, Memorial batted around in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead.
With one out, Jared Jones hit a screaming liner to left that was the first of five straight hits in the game for the Bulldog shortstop. He went to third on Cody Ebert’s line shot down the left-field line and trotted home on a single by Hunter Jackson with Ebert stopping at second.
Alec Johnson kept the momentum going with a single that brought Ebert in to tie the score. After Mac Michaelik walked to load the bases, the Sabercats got slugging catcher Colin Simpson on a fly to center, but Reese Garvie plated the third run with a single up the middle that brought in Jackson. However, the Southmoore scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to go back on top, 5-3. The Bulldogs wasted hits by Jones and Jackson in the third and also had hits by the same duo on the sixth, but couldn’t push across a run.
Simpson led off the seventh with a single through the infield but was erased by a fielder’s choice. Nicklas drilled a liner down the third base line that brought Garvie home and then came home to tie the score on yet another single by Jones. That also left the bases loaded, but the ‘Dogs failed to convert. In the eighth, Johnson had a one-out single and went to third on a single by Michaelik and Simpson's fielder's choice. The Bulldogs also had two runners in the ninth following the six-run outburst by Southmoore on a walk to Wade Hanska and Jones’ fifth single of the day, but couldn’t advance them. On the mound for Memorial, Conner Kinnear came on in relief in the fifth inning and held the Sabercats scoreless for four innings yielding just one hit.