PRYOR, OK —
Claremore put up one run in each of the first four innings before a five-run fifth inning put Pryor away for good as the Zebras pounded the Tigers 9-0 Tuesday at American Legion Memorial Field in both teams' first game since their return to Oklahoma from the Aggie Classic last week.
The Pryor bats matched the weather, going cold after heating up in the Florida sun. Claremore hurler Bryce Howe pitched a complete game, giving up just one walk while putting out nine Tigers on strikes. Howe, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound junior, allowed a quartet of Tiger singles on his way to a shutout.
Pryor managed just five baserunners and stranded all of them. Pryor's best chance to score came in the bottom of the first inning with the Tigers down 1-0. Casey Holloway singled and advanced to third on a Brennon Barth grounder and a Spencer Henson flyout before cleanup batter Nate Wolfe struck out to end the inning.
Wolfe, a 5-foot-10 junior, started on the mound and was one of four Tiger pitchers that combined to give up 14 hits. Wolfe lasted two innings and gave up three hits before Anthony Martinez took over in the top of the third.
Junior Zebra catcher Matt Whatley returned from back surgery to hit a solo home run off of Wolfe in the second inning.
Pryor junior Zack Grubbs took the brunt of the damage on the mound, allowing six hits and six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings, including all five runs in Pryor's miserable fifth inning. Senior Zack Hammock closed the game, striking out three Zebras and giving up two hits in 2 1/3 innings of action.
The Zebras had several opportunities to stretch their lead before the fifth inning, but a few stunning defensive plays kept the Tigers in the contest. Anthony Martinez stabbed a Whatley hopper up the middle and threw to first to end the third inning before moving back to shortstop, where he dove to snare a frozen rope in the sixth.
Centerfielder Barth stole a base hit from T.J. Wood in the top of the fourth with a diving grab for the second out of the inning.
The only real drama came in the third inning, when Claremore's Jacob Teague knocked a bases-loaded single to right to bring home Wood from third base to make the score 3-0. Isaac Hollihan tried to score from second, but stumbled on his way in to home. The throw from right beat Hollihan to the plate, whose forward momentum kept him from sliding. Hollihan barreled into Pryor catcher Justin Thomas, forcing Hollihan to be ejected by rule.
Now 8-6, Pryor will co-host the Tiger/Zebra Classic with Claremore this weekend.
"Hopefully we'll be better than what we were today," PHS head coach Gerald Osborne said. "We're young, we made some mistakes. We gotta get better. The competition will be tough. That [making mistakes] could happen to us quite a bit if we don't get better."
Claremore (10-3) starts off the tournament Thursday when they battle Grove at noon at American Legion Park in Claremore. The Tigers will take on Booker T. Washington at 2 p.m. at Pryor before a date with Skiatook in the nightcap.
Claremore 111 150 0 — 9 14 1
Pryor 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Howe and Whatley; Wolfe, Martinez (3rd), Grubbs (4th), Hammock (5th) and Thomas.
WP — Howe, LP — Wolfe.
2B: Claremore — Howe, Hollihan, Weisenbach, Teague.
HR: Claremore — Whatley.