By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
FORT GIBSON – It was a matter of Hilldale’s pitcher being better that Fort Gibson’s on Monday at Carr-O’Dell Tiger Field in Fort Gibson.
The Hornets’ Jacob Stinson held the Tigers to one run on three hits as Hilldale beat Fort Gibson 4-1 in the final game of a three-way with Roland.
“Mixing everything up was the key today,” Stinson said. “Just pound the outside corner. That’s about it.”
Stinson tossed a complete game and threw a total of 88 pitches, 57 for strikes, giving up one unearned run while striking out three and walking one.
“He threw really well,” said Fort Gibson coach Randy Smith. “He kept us off stride the whole game. Our guy matched him in the beginning, we just couldn’t score the runs for him. We’re going to have to hit the ball better but our kids played good.”
Nick Burt made his first start of the season for the Tigers (3-6) and pitched the first 3 2/3 innings, giving up one unearned run while striking out three. Braden Williams (1-1) finished the game in relief and took the loss, surrendering three runs, two earned, on five hits.
“If we had made a couple of plays behind him, (Stinson) would have thrown 78 pitches,” said Hilldale pitching coach Nathan Frisby. “There were a couple of innings we kicked the ball around and if we make those plays, some guys don’t get to bat. Jacob’s the kind of guy that’s gonna be around the zone and keep you in the game.”
Hilldale (6-4) began the scoring in its first at bat. Miles Jackson led off with a single up the middle and advanced to third on a throwing error by Burt on Isaac Isham’s grounder. Hunter Harrison brought Jackson home on a fielder’s choice to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.
That looked like it would be enough for Stinson (1-1) as he allowed only three runners to reach base through the first three innings, However, the Tigers tied the game in the fourth and it was Stinson’s fault as he balked home courtesy runner Connor Hardin with two outs.
The Hornets wasted little time in getting the lead back for Stinson when Harrison ripped a two-out single between short and third in the top of the fifth and came home on Scott Rodden’s double to center to give the Hornets the lead for good at 2-1. The Hornets would close out the scoring with an unearned run in the sixth and an RBI-single by Derek Altman in the seventh.
“It makes all the difference knowing that your team’s behind you,” Stinson said. “Getting that run back in the fifth restored my confidence.”
In the first game of the day, Fort Gibson’s Tyler Stach got his first win of the season as the Tigers run-ruled Roland 10-2. After surrendering two runs in the first inning, Stach watched his teammates get three runs in the bottom of the inning and pull away with four in the third and three in the fourth.
“We’re still young, we’re gonna grow,” Smith said. “We go the early win today and played tough in the late game.”
Hilldale used almost the same script as it beat the Rangers 11-1 in five innings. The Hornets began the scoring when Rodden drove home Harrison with a triple in the first, and after Roland had tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the second, plated six unearned runs in the bottom of the second and closed out the scoring with four unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth, earning Bill Muse Jr. his first win of the year.
“We had some big two-out hits today,” Frisby said. “We would get a guy on second and guys would step up. Nothing better that getting a hit with a guy on second and two outs.”