McALESTER — The McAlester Buffaloes for the second time in a week had two chances for a seventh-inning comeback, and for the second time in a week they missed both opportunities.
McAlester hitters Chad Meadows and Andrew McBride went 0-for-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, allowing the Durant Lions to hang on for a 5-4 win in Thursday’s regional semifinal at Mike Deak Field in McAlester.
“We’re never finished, and with this type of tournament, you don’t ever know,” Durant coach Ron Norman said. “It doesn’t matter what we’ve done to this point. What matters is what we do in the innings that we played today. The motto has just been, ‘We’re not done, and let’s go win inning by inning.””
McAlester also lost by one run with runners on second and third Saturday at home against Shawnee — a game that cost the Buffs a district championship.
In the first round of Regionals, McAlester run-ruled Tulsa-Hale 14-3 and Durant beat Tulsa-Memorial 3-2. In the consolation semifinal, Memorial run-ruled Hale 14-4.
Weather permitting, McAlester plays Memorial in the consolation final today at 4 p.m. McAlester will need to beat Memorial, Durant today and Durant on Friday to advance to the state tournament, while Durant needs just one more win to make State.
“We’ve put ourselves in a lot of tough situations throughout the year, and we have fallen short,” Buffs coach Justin Bond said. “But the season’s not over, and we have to challenge them to try to put together three straight (wins) now.”
Though Zach Baugh’s two-out single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning had tied the game 2-2, Durant went back up in the top of the fifth. Matthew Knox drew a full-count walk to lead off the fifth, highlighting a game in which the Lions got their first hitter on base in three separate innings.