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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Best of 2013-14: Dale baseball's improbable comeback

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  • Of all the improbable endings you could have for a sporting event, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with one more unlikely than what the Dale Pirates pulled off in their Class 2A state baseball championship game against Silo.
    The Pirates entered the bottom of the seventh down 7-0. They emerged with a tie game, scoring all seven of their runs with two outs before scoring the winning run in the ninth to take the title, their second spring championship in three years.
    The Pirates entered the seventh with just one hit in the game, but took advantage of several walks and got timely hits to complete the rally.
    “We just had one hit until the seventh inning when their pitcher got a little wild,” said Dale head coach Jerry Sanford said afterward. “Then we had strung some hits together. Hitting is contagious.
    “Our kids are tough. We have eight seniors and they are battle tested.”
    The Pirates, who had been near the top of the rankings all season, had to mount a comeback just to reach the state tournament at all. After losing to host Christian Heritage Academy in their second game of the regional tournament.
    Dale then won three games over three days, including a pair of wins over the Crusaders, to make it back to the state tournament.
    The Asher Indians also advanced to the state tournament but fell short in their bid to break Red Oak’s grip on the championship. The Eagles, who were ranked No. 1 in Class B all season, defeated the second ranked Indians 5-1 in the state title game in May for their fourth straight spring title.
    The Indians, led by senior pitcher/shortstop Tanner Andrews, finished the season 25-8, rallying past Sentinel with seven runs in the fifth inning for a 7-2 win.
    Because rain on Thursday pushed back the state tournament to Friday, the semifinals and finals were played on Saturday. The Indians got a strong pitching performance from Caleb Dubler to defeat Dover 5-0 in the semifinals before falling to Red Oak in the championship game.
    The Indians won the championship in the fall, defeating Leedey 7-0 in the title game.

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