HR for Copeland, Bowden lifts Bearcats to tourney championship

Wes Haddox
Sports Correspondent

The 18th ranked Antlers Bearcats traveled all the way to northern McCurtain County last week to participate in the Smithville Invitational Tournament. Antlers was paired against the Wister JV squad in the first round and Zach Pendley got the call on the mound with Trent Young behind the plate.

The Bearcats scored two runs in the third, two in the fifth, and two more in the sixth while Pendley pitched a complete game giving up only 1 R, 3 H, 6 K, and 2 BB. Antlers picked up a 6-1 win advancing them into the semi-finals game.

Indiana McNutt led the Cats going 2-4, 1 R, and 1 RBI. Kaleb Sheaffer finished 2-4 with 1 RBI while other Bearcats collecting hits were Kyle Schier, Kaden Speer, Trent Young, and Raven Bowden.

Antlers faced their county rivals from the north in the semi-finals, the Clayton Bulldogs. In this game, the bats started strong and never let up for the Bearcats. The team scored four in the first, one in the second, three in the third, three in the fourth, and finished it off with five in the fifth to give Antlers a 16-3, run-rule victory in five innings of play.

Young collected the win on the mound with 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 K, and 1 BB. Copeland closed out the game with 1 IP, 0 R, 2 K, and 3 BB. Kyle Schier led the Cats in offense going 3-4, 3 R, 1 BB, and 4 RBI. Other highlights included Kaden Speer 3-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 RBI; Trent Young 2-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 RBI; and Indiana McNutt 1-2, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 RBI.

The win advanced Antlers into the finals to face the Howe Lions. Howe took the early lead at 2-1 after the first inning and then extended it to 5-1 after the fifth. Raven Bowden hit a solo homerun in the sixth to give the Lions a 5-2 advantage going into the seventh inning.

In the top of the seventh, Schier singled and Young doubled to put runners at second and third with Conner Copeland at the plate. With the game on the line, Copeland hit a 3 run bomb over the left field fence tying the score at five and keeping the Bearcats hopes alive. Bowden stepped to the plate next and doubled to center field. Smith singled to left field to bring home the game winning run and giving Antlers a 6-5, come from behind win and the tournament championship.

Speer started the game on the mound for the Cats and finished with 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 K, and 4 BB. Schier came in and and finished with 2 IP, 1 K, and 2 BB. Offensive highlights were: Schier 2-4, 1 R; Bowden 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR; Copeland 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 RBI, 1 HR; Smith 2-4, 1 RBI; and McNutt 1-3, 1 BB.