Mistakes prove costly as Cowboys fall 9-4 to Gladiators
Offensively, the Crook County Cowboys played well enough to win on Tuesday afternoon in Gladstone.
However, their defense committed six errors as Crook County gave up nine unearned runs in a 9-4 loss to the Gladstone Gladiators.
The Cowboys broke out on top with a run in the top half of the first inning.
Gladstone answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, then took the lead when they scored another run in the second inning.
Crook County tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth.
However, the Gladiators, who are undefeated in league play, regained the lead as they scored a run in the bottom half of the fifth.
Once again, the Cowboys tied the game in the sixth, only to see any chance of victory slip away in the bottom half of the inning as the Gladiators exploded for six runs.
Crook County added a final run in the top of the seventh, but it was too little, too late, as the Gladiators swept the three-game series with the Cowboys.
Crook County starting pitcher Heath Pickhardt pitched into the sixth inning, giving up just six hits and walking two, while striking out three.
However, Pickhardt was unable to get any outs in the sixth, as the Cowboys committed a series of errors.
Carson Smith came in to relieve Pickhardt and didn't give up a hit as he threw nine pitches in relief.
Gladstone starter Derek Lee picked up the win, striking out four and giving up seven hits in six innings of work.
Wesley Haverland came in to relieve Lee in the seventh inning and gave up one hit and an unearned run.
Tyler Meyers was the lone Gladstone player with multiple hits, picking up a single and a double to go along with one RBI.
Pickhardt ripped a double for the Cowboys and scored one of their runs. Devin Wilson had a pair of singles, while Kyle Knudtson, Smith, Hunter Bishop, Garett Bernard and Riley Forman all had singles.
Knudtson finished with two RBIs while Brody Connell and Smith each had one RBI.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 14-11 overall and 8-6 in league action, while the Gladiators improved to 18-5, 14-0.
The Cowboys hosted the Madras White Buffalos on Thursday. However, the game had nothing but pride on the line as Madras has already locked up second place in the Tri-Valley Conference, and the Cowboys are guaranteed to finish in third, regardless of the outcome.
Crook County will go on the road for a play-in game sometime next week against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
A win would put the Cowboys into the first round of the playoffs, while their season would end with a loss.
Meanwhile, with the league title already wrapped up, the Gladiators ended the regular season with a game at Estacada on Thursday.
The Gladiators then host La Salle Prep and play at Jesuit next week before hosting a first round playoff game on Wednesday, May 23.
Crook County 100 101 1 — 4 8 6
Gladstone 110 016 x — 9 6 4