The Duke Tigers baseball team finished the fall schedule with an 11-11 record and now that spring has arrived, the team is back on the diamond in Class B baseball.
They began the season with a 13-1 victory over Indiahoma in which they scored seven runs in the third inning to activate the “mercy rule” and earn their first win of the season.
Hayden Brown was on the mound for the Tigers and pitched three innings while allowing just one run on one hit and striking out seven total batters.
Six of the nine active Duke players recorded hits. The Tigers were led by Matt Milner who was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and two RBIs.
Dawson Brooks brought in four runs while scoring once himself during a 2-for-3 performance.
But the Tigers ran into trouble at the Central High Spring Festival against Wetumka (1-6) and Class A’s 20th ranked Central Marlow (10-2).
Against Central Marlow, the Tigers committed six errors and Orin McGee struggled on the mound, walking the first seven batters he faced to give Marlow a 4-0 lead.
Hayden Brown relieved McGee on the mound and Marlow ripped a single to the bring a run home and push the score to 5-0 before Brown was able to get the first out for the Tigers on a strikeout.
Marlow scored six more runs before the Tigers were able to get the final out of the inning in an 11-0 hole going into the top of the second inning.
Marlow scored four additional runs in the second inning, but Duke did not get its first run on the board until the third inning after a Brown single put one on base.
Brooks drove a ball to center field to score Brown but it was the only point the Tigers scored in the 15-1 rout.
The Tigers continued to struggle against Wetumka with 10 errors in a 11-3 loss.
Wetumka started early with two runs in the first inning and three in the second to force the Tigers to play catch-up.
Brooks popped a ball to right field for Duke and reached first on an error by Wetumka’s right fielder.
The Tiger’s Lucas Bales singled on a line drive to right field to advance Brooks to second and put two Duke players on base. Colton Cusher relieved Bales as a baserunner.
Mason Rice popped a ball up in foul territory and Wetumka’s catcher was able to get beneath it for the first out of the inning. Duke’s Harris Osborne hit a ground ball bringing Brooks home for the score although Cusher was caught running to third base for the second out of the inning.
Duke’s Jase Hamersley singled on a ground ball to score Osborne and pull the Tigers within three at 5-2.
But the Tigers’ opportunity to put points on the board stalled until the top of the fifth inning when Duke’s Brown was able to reach base on an error by Wetumka’s shortstop.
Two batters later, Brooks doubled on a fly ball to center field to score Brown and narrow the gap between the Tigers and Wetumka to 5-3.
But a six-run fifth for Wetumka ended the Tigers’ hopes of a rally and they fell to Wetumka 11-3 to make an early exit from the Central High Spring Festival.
The Tigers are scheduled to return to the diamond at 5 p.m. Monday against 16th-ranked Hammon in a doubleheader.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.