By Chuck Reherman
Yukon had opportunities to score in the fifth and sixth innings and it came back to bite them as Deer Creek pulled off a 2-1 win over the Millers Thursday at Miller Field.
The Antlers, 5-1, handed YHS its first loss of the season in a pitchers dual that saw both teams make big plays to keep the other from scoring.
Deer Creek, after Yukon had tied the game in the bottom of the seventh scored the eventual game winning with two out in the eighth inning, then turned away a Miller rally in the bottom half of the frame.
“We battled,” Miller head coach Kevin James said. “I thought it was a pretty good game, our pitchers threw well, we had a couple of chances and we need to handle the bat a little better. We had chances to move guys over and we don’t get it taken care of. We had three chances to get bunts down and we didn’t.
“It was a great ball game, they have a very good club and we were right there with them,” he said. “We go extra innings with them and had a couple of chances to win, we just didn’t get it done. I’m proud of them, how they competed and battled and everything. It was a good atmosphere and good ball game.
“We got guys on late in the game and didn’t capitalize. We hit the ball hard. Kobe (Flow) hit the ball hard with guys on, but it was just right at someone.”
The Millers had rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when Cody Pfieffer raced home from third on an error with two out. Pifeffer, running for Trevin Pettigrew who had singled, advanced to third and scored when Carson Lee reached on an error. Yukon had the game winning run on second base, but a pop up ended the inning.
Deer Creek scored the go ahead run in with two out in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Ty Hammack. Jack Hill had kept the inning alive with a two-out single and Duncan Key singled to send the runner to third.
Hammack singled to centerfield and pinch runner Nathan Burright beat the throw to the plate for a 2-1 lead.
Yukon did have a chance to tie in the bottom of the inning after back-to-back singles from Carson Benge and Flow, but the next batter struck out to end the game.
Deer Creek had taken the lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Bryce Logan.
The Millers had a chance in the bottom of the fifth after a pair of walks, but a double play ended the threat. In the sixth, the Millers got two more runners on, but again a double play ended the inning.
“It’s a fun game, that is what makes it so exciting,” James said. “There are lots of moving parts. We did come up on the short end, but I will take it. We competed, played a good ballclub and got after them. They knew they were in a ball game and we got after them.
“We had opportunities and didn’t get it done, but it will help us next time,” he said. “Those types of games are fun when you get after it and play and a bounce here or there and it could have been a different outcome.
The Millers ran their record to 4-0 on Tuesday and 2-0 in district 6A-2 play with a 7-0 win over Putnam City North in the annual Battle at the Brick, in Oklahoma City.
The Millers ran their record to 8-2 at the Brick since the series was started in 2013.
Carson Benge and Ethan Horton combined to throw a one-hitter in their second win over the Panthers (YHS won 18-0 on Monday). Benge went five innings and struck out 12 and Horton finished the final two innings.
“Carson threw well and Ethan came in and pitched well, so we had a good seven innings on the mound,” James said. “Their pitchers threw better, stayed ahead in the count and made it a little tougher. The first time through the order they gave us a hard time, but we got better after that.
“We did have a base running error on a soft fly ball that we should have gotten back on and we are still taking too many strikes, but we have a better understanding,” he added. “We did play well on defense, we were in it and the guys were playing well.
“It is always a fun atmosphere to play there, but this year it seemed different. We had a lot of former players there, but it was hard to tell who they were because everyone had masks on.”
The Miller offense got going in the third inning and used an RBI single from Benge and a steal of home on a play to second base.
Logan Troxell had singled and scored on Benge’s base hit. Tyler Collins raced home from third after Flow, who had walked stole second base.
Flow singled home a run in the fourth to key another two-run inning and open a 4-0 lead. Lee had been hit by a pitch and courtesy runner Carson Creach scored on a ground out by Aiden Alexander. Flow followed with his single to drive in Benge, who had walked and stolen second base.
Heath Brown’s two-run double keyed a three-run sixth inning that opened the 7-0 lead. He doubled home Flow and Alexander, who both had walked.
Trevin Pettigrew drove in the final run with a triple to centerfield.
Benge and Flow led the YHS hitting, both with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
“We had some good at bats early in the game and hit balls hard,” James said. Carson and Kobe had good nights at the plate. Logan and Aiden were both on base quite a bit.
“Carson (Lee) got on base three or four times,” he said. “He is probably leading the state in being hit by pitches because it happens every game. He got hit twice in the game with North.”