BASEBALL: Claremore falls to Branson in Tiger/Zebra Classic finale

Apr. 1—The final day of the Tiger/Zebra Classic ended on a sour note for host Claremore

The Zebras had their hopes of winning the tournament dashed Saturday afternoon, letting a four-run lead slip away in a 10-7 loss to Branson (Mo.) inside Murray-Pixley Park at Legendary Legion Field. With the defeat, Claremore finished the event with a 3-1 record and now sports a 14-5 season mark.

After two scoreless innings, Marcos Sallee broke the deadlock when he scored Izaak McMahan with a line-drive single to center field in the third. Dan Harrington then drove in Sallee with a double to right field, and Zach Hale scored on a Tyson Grimett pop out before Kellen Gaede singled in Gunner Holm to make it 4-0.

However, that seemingly comfortable cushion didn't last long.

The Pirates scored on three-consecutive at-bats in the top of the fourth, with Aaron Strohm and Jansen Poor notching RBI doubles and Marshall Storm a single. Branson took the lead at 5-4 in the fifth on a 2-RBI triple to right field from Sam Adkisson, who later scored on a Collin Ross groundout.

The Pirates added another run in the sixth on a Ryder Schroeder double to center field, but the Zebras managed to answer this time when Lucas Dupont scored on an error by the Branson catcher in the bottom half, trimming the deficit to 7-5.

The Pirates were back at it in the seventh, though, with Gage Depee scoring on a wild pitch before Poor singled in Adkisson on the same at-bat. Poor later scored on a bases-loaded walk for Branson's final run.

Claremore — which finished with five hits — had a promising start to the bottom half as Hale and Harrington earned walks, but a strikeout followed by a pop out put it in a dire situation. Saxton Pickup plated Dupont and Hale with a ground-ball single to center field but was tagged out while advancing to second, ending the game.

Harrington took the loss despite tossing seven strikeouts, allowing seven hits, six runs and two walks on 96 pitches through 4.1 innings. Brad Hoisington and Pickup also saw time on the mound, throwing 34 pitches apiece while surrendering a combined two hits, four runs and three walks.

The Pirates racked up nine hits, with Adkisson, Poor and Storm leading the way with two apiece.

Dez White was credited with the win, though he threw only 17 pitches in one inning on the mound, delivering one strikeout. Depee started for Branson, managing two strikeouts while allowing four hits, four runs and two walks on 74 pitches through four innings before Kyler Lankton threw two innings of relief, throwing one strikeout while surrendering one hit, three runs and three walks on 33 pitches.

The Zebras return to district action at 5 p.m. Monday at Will Rogers, looking to maintain their undefeated mark in the District 5A-3 standings.