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Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg, Fort Scott split baseball doubleheader

  • It was a tale of two different innings.



    One helped solidify game one for the Pittsburg Purple Dragons while the other moved the Fort Scott Tigers into a commanding lead to win the second game.



    Playing at JayCee Ballpark, the Purple Dragons split with their neighbors to the north, winning the first game 12-6 before losing the second 12-1.

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  • It was a tale of two different innings.
    One helped solidify game one for the Pittsburg Purple Dragons while the other moved the Fort Scott Tigers into a commanding lead to win the second game.
    Playing at JayCee Ballpark, the Purple Dragons split with their neighbors to the north, winning the first game 12-6 before losing the second 12-1.
    The Purple Dragons went into the sixth inning, leading by a single run.
    That was before Dante Richardson's long drive to right field, narrowly missing the foul line, brought in James Clark for the first of six runs in the sixth alone to keep the Purple Dragons in the driving seat to win the game.
    "I was happy with how hard the kids competed in the first game," said Pittsburg head coach Keith Matlock. "We had a couple of mistakes early but we overcame and we just continued to battle."
    Anthony McNeely's long hit deep into the outfield enabled Tanner Ellis, Nick Vacca and Dante Richardson to score a triple off a single hit to further escalate Pittsburg's lead to 11-6.
    "It was huge," Matlock said. "We were up by one going into that inning and we come up and have a good start to it. We got some big hits and it gave us some breathing room going into the seventh."
    Before the inning was finished, McNeely crossed home plate to make it a six-run lead which was the Purple Dragons's largest lead of the night.
    "It was a clutch spot for them and they just broke our back," said Fort Scott head coach Josh Regan.
    Two early errors proved costly for the Purple Dragons as the Tigers cruised to a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. But it did not last. Richardson's home run with one person on base in the bottom of the first tied the game.
    Trailing by one-run in the third, the Purple Dragons loaded the bases and would soon get two runs out of it.
    Fort Scott's Zach Denton's run in the fourth was the cost of a Purple Dragon error.
    Pittsburg scored three runs in the bottom fourth to go up 7-4 and was really all they needed to win. That is, until the Tigers took advantage of a Purple Dragon pitching error to score and get another run to close the gap before Pittsburg's five-run performance in the sixth.
    "It was a night where the momentum swung back and forth and that kind of dictated success," Regan said.
    McNeely was the game winning pitcher for the Purple Dragons while Wyatt Reehl was the starting pitcher for the Tigers.
    Game two was another story.
    Page 2 of 2 - With a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning and already two batters out but with the bases loaded, Mason Knopp's hit enabled Jacob Payne and Reehl to double the lead.
    Then, Kaleb DeLaTorre and Knopp added two more after Carter Young's hit. As if that wasn't enough, Jake Durossette's long fly to deep centerfield was enough for Young to come home and the inning would end at 7-0 Fort Scott.
    For Matlock and his players, it was an inning that put the game beyond reach and said it killed their momentum.
    "What our kids have got to understand is that was only the third inning," Matlock said. "We still had five at bats to go. But give them credit, they were hitting some hard balls and we weren't and some nights that will happen."
    It was the same kind of inning the Purple Dragons enjoyed in game one. Only this time, it was the other team celebrating.
    "In high school baseball, those innings are just backbreakers," Regan said. "And those big innings with high school kids are hard to overcome, so when we can get them, we try to get the momentum in our favor. We definitely got it going there and then we're playing with confidence."
    The Tigers added two more runs in the fourth before Dylan Crozier's long grounder ended up being a run to put Pittsburg on the score sheet. But the damage was already done.
    Fort Scott scored two more runs off a single hit to make it a ten-run game and soon eleven. Pittsburg's failure to narrow the gap in the fifth ended the game two innings early with the run rules. Matlock stressed that the Purple Dragons were limited at chances to get something going in the game.
    "We didn't have many base runners," Matlock said. "Their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off base and we just took a couple of different approaches than what we were successful at in the first game."
    Ryan Pickert was the starting pitcher for the Tigers in game two while Pittsburg turned to Bernhardt to lead the pitching in game two before letting Ryan McNeely takeover on the mound later in the game.
    Fort Scott's record now stands at 3-2 while the Purple Dragons are still at .500 with a 3-3 record.
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