It was not the prettiest win Oklahoma Christian School coach Johnny Henderson has seen from his team, but he’ll take it.

The Saints (9-2) jump on top of Oklahoma Christian Academy early, and managed to hang for a 5-4 win Monday night.

“We played well early and then we started making a lot of mental mistakes,” Henderson said. “I’m happy we won, but against good people we need to play better, we need to execute and mentally stay in the game.”

Daniel Cranford (3-1) had a strong outing on the mound and earned the win, despite throwing just three innings. Henderson said he planned to use the junior hurler in the upcoming Benger Tournament, and did not want to overwork him on Monday night.

OCS appeared ready for a blowout win, when they scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning. After a pair of walks, Connor Walker loaded the bases with an infield hit. The next batter, Craig VanHorn drove in two runs with a double to left field. But a throwing error allowed Walker to score the third run, as Van Horn scooted to third. Cory Kobs drove in another run with a one-run double to left field, to make it a 4-0 Saints lead.

But the OCS offense all but dried up, as OCA pitcher Jesse Chambers settled in on the mound. Then Eagles (12-6) began to slowly chip away at the deficit.

David Faircloth came on in relief for the Saints in the top of the fourth inning, but struggled to find his rhythm. Connor Shavers was hit by a pitch, and later advanced to third on a wild pitch and a balk. Shavers put the Eagles first run on the board, when he came home on a single by Andrew McCasland, making it a 3-1 game. McCasland later scored on a double steal, to cut OCS’s lead to two runs.

Scott Murdock gave the Saints some breathing room, when drove in Cranford with a double to left to make it a 5-2 game in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fifth inning, Braden Saintz reached on a double to left field, and later scored on a single by Tanner Dees, cutting the Saints lead to two runs.

OCA then pulled within one run in the top of the sixth inning, after earning a pair of leadoff walks. Cody Painter reached on an error, and Shavers came home to make it a 5-4 game.

Jeff Smith closed out the game for the Saints, allowing just one hit and striking out five in two innings of work.

Smith led the way for the Saints, going 3-for-3 with a walk and one run scored. Saintz was the Eagles top hitter, going 4-for-4 with a double and one run scored.

OCS heads to Luther tonight, and then opens play in the Binger Tournament on Thursday against the host team. OCA plays Crescent at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Dolese Park.

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