Asher ousted from Class B State Tourney by Tupelo

Keven Scrutchins
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Asher's Mike McDonald fires a pitch against Tupelo Thursday at the Class B State Tournament.
Asher's Garrett Leba hits a fly ball in the third inning against the Tupelo Tigers Thursday at the Class B State Tournament.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Asher’s run to the Class B state baseball title came to a halt Thursday afternoon as the Tupelo Tigers defeated the Indians 5-3 in the first round at Dolese Park.

Asher held or had a share of the lead for five of the seven innings of play, but a three-run top of the sixth inning by the Tigers spelled Asher’s doom.

Tupelo scored two runs in the top of the first to take a quick 2-0 lead, before the Indians answered with two runs of their own, knotting the score at 2-2 after one complete frame. The Tigers' leadoff hitter Cody Airington started the game with a double to left field and later scored when the throw to third base, from Asher catcher Cameron Grissom,sailed wide-right. Tupelo scored its second run on a bloop RBI single to left by Peyton Bills.

Asher wasted little time in coming right back at the Tigers. The Indians' Trent Smith smashed a double over the right-fielder’s head to get into scoring position. With two down, Tahlan Hamilton hit Asher’s second double of the frame to deep center, scoring Smith, and then crossed the dish two batters later on an RBI single by Ryan Reeser. The game was tied 2-2 after on inning of play.

The Indians grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second inning, scoring a run on an error by Tupelo’s third baseman. Dayton Fowler started the inning with an infield single followed by a Garrett Leba single to set things in motion. Fowler then scored from second on the hard-hit ball to third from Smith. Asher mustered just one run and took a 3-2 lead into the third.

Asher cruised behind starting pitcher Mike McDonald for the next three innings. Things turned sour in the top of the sixth, after the first two Tupelo batters were put out.

Harley Davidson set the wheels in motion with a single to center, followed by two more singles by Airington and Bentley Bills. Bills' hit scored Tupelo’s first run before Asher rolled the dice and intentionally walked Ty Bourland, setting up the force-out possibility at every base.

Hunter Davidson then spoiled the plan, scoring two more runs on a single to left field. Tupelo led 5-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

The Tigers then sent Airington to the mound, in relief of starter Bentley Bills and Airington struck out two of the three Indian batters in a three up, three down Asher sixth and seventh inning, earning a Tupelo trip to the semifinals.

Bills earned the win for the Tigers, pitching five innings. He gave up the three runs on six hits. He struck out five Asher batters and walked two.

McDonald took the loss for Asher, giving up the five runs on 10 hits. He walked three and struck out four Tigers.

Asher finished the 2021 spring baseball campaign with a record of 22-9.