Oran baseball team survives vs. Bernie to snare district crown

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Oran's Dalton Elfrink celebrates with coach Mitch Wood after Elfrink blasted a grand slam against Bernie during the second inning of the Class 1 District 2 championship game Wednesday in Oran, Mo. (CHRIS POBST ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

ORAN, Mo. -- Oran pitcher Dalton Elfrink will be the first to tell you that Wednesday was not his best outing on the mound.

He allowed nine runs on 10 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work against Bernie during the Class 1 District 2 baseball championship game.

But his troubles on the hill quickly were erased when he and his Eagles teammates started rattling their bats.

Elfrink sent a grand slam that nearly hit his mother, who was watching the game from beyond the left-field fence, which couldn't help but put him in a good mood.

"I was kind of not having the best game," Elfrink said. "It was bases loaded and I was just trying to find a gap somewhere. I ended up almost hitting my mom out there in left. I was pumped after that and it kind of set the game at a higher level for everybody in the dugout."

Oran's Kody Moore watches his throw to first after forcing out Bernie baserunner Jordan McGowan during Wednesday's Class 1 District 2 championship game in Oran, Mo. The Eagles won 13-9. (CHRIS POBST ~ Sikeston Standard Democrat)

Oran unloaded eight hits, which included Elfrink's slam, in the first two innings when it scored all 13 of its runs en route to its 13-9 championship win.

Oran (20-2) hoisted its 17th district trophy in school history and first since the 2008 season. The Eagles will play at Cooter in the Class 1 Sectional 1 game Monday.

"Our pitching and defense wasn't real stellar today, but we got the job done," Oran coach Mitch Wood said. "Elfrink just didn't have his stuff today. Bernie had a lot to do with why he didn't look good, too."

The Mules scattered eight hits in the first three innings when they scored all nine of their runs.

Bernie's Blake Keasler belted an opposite-field two-run home run to give the Mules a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. They scored five more in the second on four hits and four walks.

"He's our best hitter and he's been knocking the tar out of the ball lately," Bernie coach Jason Long said about Keasler's home run. "He's emerged as our leader, and I wasn't really surprised that he done that because he was ready to play. We fed off that."

The Mules held a 7-5 advantage after just 1 1/2 innings of play.

But Oran answered every Bernie rally.

Oran leadoff hitter Kody Moore slapped the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first to deep left-center field for a homer, which sent the Eagles bench into a frenzy.

"That threw us for a loop," Elfrink said about Moore's home run. "We were real pumped after that."

Moore's blast catapulted the Eagles to four more runs that inning, which included an RBI hit from Seth Ressel and a two-run single by Dylan Dannenmueller.

"That's the reason I hit him leadoff," Wood said about Moore. "A lot of people would hit him three or four. We've always done that because we want him to bat as many times as he can. He's a spark plug for us."

Bernie didn't back down after falling behind 5-2. The Mules upped the ante by pushing across five runs in the top of the second.

But the Eagles bounced back with their bats.

"We've relied on our offense a lot this year," Moore said. "Then again, we have to tip our hats to Bernie. We haven't let up that many runs a lot of times this year."

Oran cranked out eight runs in the second, capped by Elfrink's grand slam.

"That was a big hit for us," Moore said. "He's been hitting the ball well all year and hopefully that will spark a few more in him during the playoffs."

Although Bernie scored two runs in the top of the third, Elfrink kept the Mules off the scoreboard the next two innings. He finally gave way to Moore in the sixth inning. Moore sustained an injury to his pitching arm a week ago.

He didn't pitch like it.

Moore faced four batters and retired them in order.

"He felt good and was ready to go," Wood said about Moore. "I don't think he threw over 20 pitches, so it worked out well."

"Arm feels good," Moore said. "If I need to throw any time, I can."

Moore led the Eagles with three hits and was just a triple shy of the cycle.

Ressel and Blake Carlyle both added two hits in the win.

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WP -- Dalton Elfrink. LP -- Micah Woods. HR -- Blake Keasler (B), Kody Moore (O), Elfrink (O). 2B -- Jesse Shelton (B), Moore (O). Multiple hits -- Bernie: Woods 2-4, Shelton 2-3, Jordan McGowan 2-3; Oran: Moore 3-4, Blake Carlyle 2-4, Seth Ressel 2-4.

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