By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Fielding changed the momentum toward Hilldale and helped the Hornets sweep Glenpool in the Class 4A district playoffs at Hornet Field on Thursday night.
Glenpool had taken a 3-1 lead in the third inning of game two on E.J. Bierman’s two-run double to score Nolan McCutcheon and Kyle Price. The Warriors were looking to inflict more damage in the fourth
But Price was thrown out in a rundown between third base and home plate and then Bridges was thrown out trying to steal third base by catcher Isaac Isham to left fielder Cameron Orman. who snuck in to cover third, for the double play. Dusty Hale then struck out to end the inning.
“We do a great job to get the rundown and then Cameron makes an outstanding play coming from left field,” Hilldale coach Darren Riddle said. “That was a huge defensive play for us.”
After that play, Hilldale rallied with a four-run fifth to take a 5-3 lead.
Colby Mullens doubled in Jackson and Derek Altman doubled in Mullens to start the rally. Two fielding errors brought home Mullens and Hunter Harrison. Harrison had walked and moved to third on Altman’s double.
Bailey Puckett padded the Hornets’ lead to 6-3 in the sixth when he doubled home Hunter Harrison.
The Hornets increased their lead to 8-3 in the seventh inning as Scott Rodden scored when Miles Jackson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Harrison’s sacrifice fly to center field scored courtesy runner Dakota Holmes.
Derek Altman got the win in relief to improve to 3-0 as he struck out five batters.
The Hornets, the defending state champion, improved to 18-10 for the season and the Warriors ended the season 9-14.
Puckett’s other double, which also went to left center field, scored Jackson in the top of the third for an early 1-0 lead. Jackson got on base on a catcher’s error, took second on a ground out and stole third before coming home.
In the first game, Puckett was just looking for a good pitch to hit and he got more than that as his sixth-inning single lifted the Hornets to the 2-1 victory against the Warriors in the opener.
Harrison (10-2) walked to reach base. He advanced all the way to third base on a throwing error by losing pitcher Nolan McCutcheon.
That brought Puckett to the plate.
“I went up there with confidence and try to hit the baseball hard,” he said. “I wanted to help my team out.”
Puckett’s single went to the right of Glenpool second baseman Kyle Price, and Harrison dashed home with the decisive run.
“I was just excited that hit helped us win,” Puckett said.
With base runner and right fielder Dusty Hale on base, Harrison got shortstop Patrick O’Toole to ground out to third base to end the game. The Connors State signee struck out seven batters in pitching the complete-game victory.
“I was making sure to hit my spots,” Harrison, the winning pitcher in Hilldale’s state championship win last spring, said.
Hilldale got on the board first in the third inning when Rodden scored on a fielder’s choice. He walked to get on base, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error.