Choctaw Baseball's season comes to an end with one-run loss to Gibbs

Thursday, May 23, 2024
Dyer County starter David Headtke looks in for the sign during the Choctaws' loss to Gibbs on Wednesday night at Blackman High School in the Class AAA State Tournament. Headtke allowed only one unearned run on three hits during the season-ending loss.


The Choctaws were unable to string hits together and had a tough time on the basepaths as Dyer County saw its season come to an end on Wednesday night at Blackman High School with a 1-0 loss to Gibbs in the TSSAA Class AAA State Tournament.

Dyer County's Drew Ladd leads off of first after a fifth inning single.
State Gazette photo/Jason Peevyhouse

“Today was just a tough day, but that's baseball,” Dyer County Head Coach Derek Hinson said following the second loss of the day. “Baseball is a game of failure. Like I said before – timely hitting, bunt, should have made this call, should have made that call.

“At the end of the day, me and my coaching staff had a game plan. We stuck to that game plan.”

Dyer County was able to get Kole Fenton on with a walk in the top of the first but the senior was caught stealing third to end the frame scoreless.

Gibbs got on the board in the bottom of the second as a Will Sharp lead off the inning. Sharp scored two batters later when Zaydin Ivey singled to right to make the score 1-0 in the Eagles' favor after one inning.

The Choctaws looked to answer in the top of the third inning as Jake Gentry drew a one-out. However, he was picked off at first after the first pitch to give Dyer County its second out of the inning. Everett Kuykendall followed with a single then stole second on the third pitch of the at bat. But, moments later, the junior was caught off second base in a pickoff to end the inning with Dyer County still trailing by one.

Dyer County allowed Melton to reach on a one out error but Choctaw starter David Headtke struck out the next batter before ending the inning with a pop out to.

The Choctaws were able to get a one-out single from Kole Fenton and a two-out base hit by Trey Tarkington to give Dyer County two on with two out in the top of the fourth. But, a groundout ended the Choctaw threat with the orange and white still trailing by one after three and a half frames.

After the first batter of the bottom of the fourth was hit by a pitch, Dyer County got a fly out and a double play to end the Eagle threat and take the game into the fifth.

Drew Ladd singled to open the top of the fifth but the next batter grounded into a double play. A second groundout ended Dyer County's half of the fifth down by one.

Ivey reached on an error open the bottom of the fifth but was stranded when Dyer County retired the next three batters to get out of the fifth.

The Choctaws got JD Binkley on in the top of the sixth with a one-out walk but a strikeout gave Dyer County two outs. Moments later, Binkley's courtesy runner, Trey Starnes was caught off first base to end the inning with a pickoff.

This was the third time during the loss an inning ended on the basepaths.

“We had some blunders on the basepaths,” Hinson admitted. “That's the game and it happens. With our guys, in any other situation, there's a good chance we'd win.

“Today, we just did some things that were outside of our nature – especially on the basepaths. Usually, we're usually good. Today was just kind of the situation where we had some moments. I get it. You've got some high-pressure situations and some out of body moments. And you wake up and it's 1-0.”

The Dyer County head coach added Gibbs had a good gameplan.

A hit batter lead off the bottom of the sixth before Trey Tarkington struck out the side in the frame to send it to the seventh.

Dyer County junior Jack Smith singled to lead off the frame. But, with Eagle reliever Jayden Rutherford holding Smith close to first, the Gibbs pitcher was able to strike out the side in the seventh to seal the win and eliminate the Choctaws.

Headtke took the loss, allowing one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Tarkington pitched the final 1.1 innings, striking out four batters.

“We've got some guys that got some big innings here at the state tournament that got their feet wet,” Hinson explained. “Like I said, I told our guys we're trophy hunting every single year. We expect to be back here. That is a goal every single year.

“You can tell with the emotions after the game these guys love each other. They know what it takes to get back here. We're going to go back to work and, I promise you, this ain't the end of seeing Dyer County at the state tournament. I promise you that.”

Dyer County scattered five singles in the loss.

The loss ends the Choctaws season with a record of 26-13. Dyer County seniors Trey Tarkington, Kole Fenton, Jon-David Binkley, Drew Ladd, Trenton Wilson, and Eli Powell end their careers in orange and white after being part of two state tournament teams.

“These seniors – I want to thank them for everything,” Hinson added. “They welcomed me. The community and parents, too. I just hate it for these seniors going out the way they did.

“I feel like we had a really, really good chance of going to the state championship. Today was not our day.”

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