Focus on the game Bartlesville Doenges Ford Indians

In most games this season for the Bartlesville Doenges Ford Indians, overcoming a four-point deficit would have been like a hare jumping over an ant.

Heading into Thursday’s game, the Indians (19U baseball/college league) had averaged in their previous nine games, the Indians were averaging nine runs per game. The Tribe (12-6-1) has scored 10 or more points in eight games and reached at least eight points 12 times.

But on Thursday, the Indians simply couldn’t unfreeze their sticks.

Paragould (Ark.) outlasted the Indians, 4-1, limiting the Bartlesville team to its season-low total.

This was a first-round match in an American Legion tournament in Mountain Home, Ark.

Not that Bartlesville didn’t last the ball rolling with authority.

The Indians actually beat Paragould, 8-5.

But, Paragould cleanup hitter Reese Robinett hit a two-run homer in the first inning to lift his team to a 3-0 lead – and the Indians simply never found a way to. string together their hits in a killer response.

In the top of the fifth, Kaeden Young brought Cole Hancock home for the Indians’ only run.

But, before that, Paragould had pushed ahead, 4-0, and put the result on the strong throwing arms of starter Preston Wallington and Cole Doke.

Bartlesville starting pitcher Alan Covarrubias had a worthy effort (4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO), on 81 pitches, but never had a lead to work with.

Reliever Josh Weber went two hitless innings against just nine batters. He gave up one step and sniffed two.

The Indian defense made three errors, although none of them directly resulted in Paragould’s goal.

But, on the side of the Indians, the normally powerful middle of the batting order suffered a blackout.

The No. 3 through No. 6 Indians batters combined to hit a combined 1-for-11, with one walk, four strikeouts, no runs or RBI.

Two-hole swing maestro Luke Fox (3-for-4, with a triple) and nine-hole plate Dynamo Hancock (3-for-3, with a double) provided the biggest offensive impact for the Indians.

Daniel Barham and Jace Thompson both reached base on foot.

Bartlesville left eight runners stranded.

Truth be told, the Indians’ offense has had an anomaly – an anomaly they’re hoping to get out of their system as they prepare to play their 20th game.

The Indians were expected to play at least two more tournament games – and hopefully three – over the weekend.

John Pannell, right, is in his 11th year overall as Doenges Ford Indians head coach.  (Mike Tupa/Examiner-Company)

John Pannell is in his 10th season as Indians manager/head coach.

He planned to have his entire available roster — for the first time this campaign — available on weekends.

The Indians have had about as much success at home as they have on the road – they are 5-3-1 at Rigdon Field at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium and through Thursday’s game they are 7- 3 on the road.

Following this weekend’s tournament, they are planning a busier home schedule, including hosting the 63rd Annual Annaul Glent Winget Memorial 4th of July Tournament. The tournament began in 1959 and has been held every year except 1963. There is an asterisk in the fact that the 2007 tournament featured multiple games before it was flooded before a champion could be determined. The Indians only won the Winget title three times in the 2000s and will fight to add another this season.

Pannell is likely tied for second as the longest-serving Indians head coach.

Al Solenberger (1964-74) and Stan Walton (1989-99) both skippered for 11 campaigns. The Indians’ first head coach, James MacGregor, coached the team on and off from 1936 through the 1950s.

Pannell’s tenure is split between two periods – 2003-10 and 2020-present).

Bartlesville is participating in the American Legion game for the 87th consecutive year.


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Raymond I. Langston