Buffs down Durant in district opener

Mar. 5—The Buffs weren't going to be denied.

McAlester traveled to Durant Monday in the district opener, where the Buffs blasted out to a 5-1 win.

The Buffs struck first in the opening frame, as Ganon Mullins put a ball into play that resulted in Gunner Hodgell taking advantage and crossing home plate for the 1-0 lead. Caden Lesnau took to the mound in the bottom of the inning, striking out two while catcher Brayden Phillips sent a ball to Spencer Stinchcomb at second for another out.

Durant evened up the score in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI single, but McAlester punched right back as Ayden Shumway scored an RBI single of his own to put the Buffs back out front.

In the top of the fourth inning, McAlester gained more momentum at the plate. A hit-by-pitch for Stinchcomb and back-to-back walks for Jaxon Lauerman and Jordan Clark juiced up the bags. Lesnau sent a ground ball into play, with Stinchcomb scoring to extend the lead.

Hodgell followed with a high-flying sacrifice to left field, scoring Lauerman and putting the Buffs up 4-1.

The McAlester defense stayed steely tight, refusing to allow the Lions any wiggle room. The Buffs added in an insurance run, sealing away the district win.

Lesnau, Hodgell, and Shumway led the way at the plate with an RBI each, while Lesnau also went the distance on the mound — striking out 10 in the win.

Next up for the Buffs, McAlester will host Durant Tuesday in the first home game of the season at Mike Deak Field.