McALESTER — Plenty of baseball games have been lost due to defensive errors.
In McAlester’s case, errors not only cost the Buffs a win, but the season as well.
Tulsa-Memorial mounted two comebacks thanks to three McAlester errors, then Trevor Boone hit a walk-off home run to give the Chargers a 5-4 extra-innings win against the Buffs in Thursday’s regional consolation final at Mike Deak Field in McAlester.
The loss eliminated the Buffs from the postseason. The Chargers played Durant in the regional championship later Thursday evening.
“Our Achilles heel: defense,” Buffs coach Justin Bond said. “You just hope that the kids come through with these bigtime games and bigtime plays.”
McAlester had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth, with Zach Baugh beating out an infield single to lead off in the inning for his third hit of the game. Baugh scored three batters later when Mason Ross doubled down the right field line, then Brett Homer singled past a diving Michael Smith at shortstop to drive in Ross for a 4-3 Buffs lead.
Buffs starting pitcher Dalton Wood held the Chargers scoreless in the bottom of the fifth and got the first out of the sixth, but Boone then reached on an infield single. A wild pitch moved Boone to second, then Matt Garroutte grounded one right at Taylor Mullins at shortstop.
Mullins fielded the ball with plenty of time to throw to first, but his throw bounced in the dirt in front of first baseman Grant Sontag. Sontag saved several bad throws with picks off the dirt during the game, but this one was just too poor a throw, and the ball bounced past Sontag into foul territory.
Boone scored on the error to tie the game 4-4. The error looked especially costly one batter later, when Wood got Adam Keller to pop out to Chad Meadows at second and Meadows then through out Garroutte trying to run back to first for an inning-ending double play.