FORT SMITH, Ark. — A questionable call which went against the Poteau Pirates spelled doom for the locals as it allowed the Fort Smith Southside Rebels to continue a seventh-inning rally to pull out a 10-9 victory Thursday afternoon.
Down 9-7, the Rebels (7-10) got the game tied at 9-9. Then with runners at first and second and one out, Southside batter Rob Gean hit a sharp grounder to deep shortstop, which was fielded by Poteau's Jace Pitchford. Pitchford threw to third baseman Jake McMillin for the second out of the inning. But the forced-out runner, Southside's Aaron Henry, did not slide, but came in standing — thus, knocking Pitchford off balance to where he could not complete a throw to first base for a potential inning-ending double play.
But instead of either calling interference or ejecting Henry for failing to slide, the umpires let the play stand.
The next batter, Daniel Young, hit a 3-2 pitch into center field to score the game-winning run from second base — and make Poteau pitcher Mike Didway (0-1) a hard-luck loser, who suffered the loss in relief of McMillin who started the game.
After being down 5-3 after an inning, the Pirates (5-6) scored three runs in the third inning to regain the lead at 6-5 after three innings.
After Southside tied the game at 6-6 after four innings, Poteau scored three more runs in the fifth inning to break the tie to take a 9-6 lead. But the Rebels scored once in the sixth and three runs in the seventh to get the win.
Leflore 8, Panola 0; Leflore 7, Panola 0: In Leflore, the Savages got two good pitching outings from Dakota Watson and Garrett Singleterry.
In the opener, Watson struck out eight batters in five innings. His team used a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Seth Singleterry's three-run triple, to take an 8-0 lead.
In the nightcap, Garrett Singleterry had six Ks in the five-inning contest. A five-run third inning, fueled by Chance Yandell's three-RBI triple, was the big inning for Leflore, which had Friday's home game canceled with Keota because the Lions are in the Wister Tournament.
Spiro 11, Vian 5: In Vian, the Bulldogs (6-5) used a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by the second of two home runs by Tyler Didway, a three-run shot, to put the game into Spiro's favor.
Didway's first homer was a two-run shot in the first inning.
Keota 14, Arkoma 3: In Arkoma, a seven-run fourth inning broke open the game in the Lions' favor.
Charleston, Ark., 12, Pocola 11: In Charleston, Ark., the Tigers capped the comeback victory with an eight-run seventh inning, six of the runs being scored with two outs.
The Indians may have lost more than just a game as starting pitcher Connor Mangham had to leave the game to begin the second inning after injuring his elbow while warming up to begin the inning. Pocola Coach Eddie Combs said he is out indefinitely.
Editor's Note — Bokoshe's home games Thursday with Kinta and Friday with the Poteau junior varsity were canceled, and will likely not be rescheduled.