McALESTER — With each new inning, McAlester freshman starting pitcher Mason Ross got a little bit stronger.
And in the bottom of the seventh, Chad Meadows helped give Ross a much-deserved win.
Ross struck out 14, and Meadows’ grounder to deep shortstop scored Zach Baugh to give the Buffaloes a walk-off 5-4 win against the Pryor Tigers on Thursday at Mike Deak Field in McAlester.
“He, especially on the mound, does not handle himself like a freshman,” Buffs coach Justin Bond said of Ross. “He handles himself like a senior, a guy that wants the ball, wants to go win and to go compete, and knows how to do those things.”
Pryor beat McAlester 12-5 in Pryor on Friday to give the Buffs their first district loss, but McAlester still has a one-game lead over Pryor for second place in District 5A-4.
First- and second-place teams get to host regional tournaments.
Baugh led off the bottom of Thursday’s seventh inning with a single to center field, then Andrew McBride tried to sacrifice Baugh to second base with a bunt. The ball came off McBride’s bat with so much spin that second baseman Conley Ledoux hesitated before fielding it.
By the time Ledoux picked it up, McBride had already nearly reached first base for a single. Ledoux then sent his throw to first into foul territory, allowing Baugh to reach third on the error.
With no outs, Pryor brought in its infield to try to prevent Baugh from scoring on a grounder. Pryor reliever Gaige Mendivil worked the count to 2-2 against Meadows, but Meadows belted the fifth pitch of his at-bat towards Anthony Martinez at shortstop.
Martinez fielded the grounder and threw home, but Baugh slid under the tag of catcher Drew McCollough for the win. Meadows said it was the first walk-off play of his career.