ENID, Okla. — Juniors Seth and Wyatt Gray each had an RBI hit and pitched a combined seven innings in Drummond’s 3-2 win over Chisholm in the Merrifield Office Plus Invitational championship game Saturday night at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Seth Gray — the Bulldogs (26-2) starting pitcher against the Longhorns (18-6) — pitched the first two innings and allowed two runs off three hits and struck out three batters. Wyatt Gray started the game as the Bulldogs’ catcher.
Drummond head coach Jared Swart made the switch in the third inning, putting Seth Gray at catcher and putting Wyatt Gray on the mound.
“Something just wasn’t right,” Swart said following the team’s victory. “So, it was nice to be able to have a pitcher like Wyatt to go in and finish the game.”
Swart said the plan was always to have Wyatt Gray be the first pitcher in relief should the Bulldogs need it. Since Drummond had not tapped him in relief in the first two days of the tournament, Wyatt Gray was ready to roll.
“His arm was ready,” Swart said.
Prior to Saturday night, Wyatt Gray said he had never pitched more than four innings this entire season.
“I just went in there and knew I had a job to do and I wasn’t going to back down,” Wyatt Gray said.
Saturday night’s performance saw the relief pitcher throw five innings. During that time, he allowed just three hits while striking out four.
Before Wyatt Gray got his chance to take the mound, Chisholm was able to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.
Chisholm’s Scott Grebe led off the inning by getting on base, thanks to a dropped fly ball in shallow right field from Drummond’s Ty Schlecht. After London McKee was hit by a pitch, Devin Fulgham hit an RBI single to right field.
A pitch from Seth Gray missed Wyatt Gray’s glove and went toward the backstop, sending McKee home for the second run. Prior to the championship game, the Bulldogs had only allowed three runs through four tournament games, shutting out three opponents.
Drummond found its opportunity to respond in the third inning.
After a leadoff single from Greg Stites, Wyatt Gray connected for a RBI double, cutting Chisholm’s lead in half. Then, Seth Gray came to the plate the next at-bat and delivered an RBI single, tying the game.
Junior Brandon Coontz nearly hit into a double play, but was ruled safe at first after a throwing error, allowing Garrett DeHaas to score, giving the Bulldogs the lead.
“Hats off to Drummond,” said Chisholm head coach Kyle Jech. “They can really swing the bats and they got after it a little bit in (the third) inning.”
Both Grays finished the game with a hit and the only two RBIs of the game.
More strange than temperatures in the high-30s in April, was the low-scoring championship game. Prior to the championship game, the Bulldogs outscored opponents 31-3 while Chisholm outscored it’s Merrifield schedule 41-13.
It was not the winter conditions that left the offenses out in the cold, but rather the red-hot pitching from both clubs.
“One thing about my brother and I is that we have a good connection,” Wyatt Gray said. “He called the right pitches. I just threw where them where they needed (to be).”
While the Gray brothers kept the Longhorns’ offense at bay, Chisholm’s London McKee threw a complete game and allowed three runs off six hits while striking out seven.
“He’s a gamer,” Jech said of his starting pitcher. “He’s a guy that we can count on day in and day out. He’s done an excellent job for me the last two years.”
The Longhorns had more hits (9) than the Bulldogs (6) on Saturday night. But it was the Bulldogs who were able to take advantage of their opportunities.
“We just didn’t get that key hit,” Jech said. “We got a lead-off (batter) on every inning except the last inning and couldn’t get him in.”
The Longhorns left six runners on base.
“We’re not good enough at the plate to leave runs out there,” Jech said.
Despite their defeat, Jech said he was proud of his team for how they battled the elements and Drummond, who he said would likely be playing for a state championship in a few weeks.
While the state title is the endgame for the Bulldogs, they will cherish the title of the Merrifield Invitational, Drummond’s first since 2010.
“It feels great,” Wyatt Gray said. “It is the best feeling in the world.”