MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

April 22, 2014

Checotah rallies by Okmulgee

CHECOTAH – It seemed like Okmulgee had one in the bag.

The Bulldogs held a 6-1 lead into the fifth inning against Checotah, which had been struggling to generate offense. But the Wildcats unleashed their wild side in the fifth and sixth innings as they rallied back to snatch a 13-6 win at Checotah High School on Monday.

The rally for the Wildcats, now 20-5 with a seven-game win streak, got going as Wyatt Hatridge sent a shot into left field, scoring Jack Christian from third and Cody Cox from first when the ball was mishandled in the outfield. On the next at-bat, Caleb Knight hit a towering home run over the left field wall making it a 6-5 game, injecting a huge surge of energy into the Wildcats’ dugout.

“Okmulgee is a scrappy bunch. We came out a little flat and I think that big hit by Caleb got things going. It got our juices flowing,” said Checotah coach Tom Butler. “From then on we were locked in.”

The Wildcats were really locked in when they unloaded on the Bulldogs (8-16) in the sixth, scoring eight runs before getting a single out.

“We knew we had two chances left the get the lead. So we told ourselves this is either do it now or do or die,” said Knight. “We were then really smooth at the plate and generated runs.”

The sixth was full of Okmulgee errors, including one that tied the game, as Cox laid down a bunt that was gloved and thrown wild to first into right field allowing Jimmy Eddy to score. On the next play, Hatridge’s grounder to short was wildly thrown home as it hit the netting, allowing Christian to score to give the Wildcats the lead.

On at second base, Knight escaped a pickle when he got out of a pick-off trap later in the inning and wound up on third, allowing the bases to be loaded. Knight scored when Mark Miles was hit by a pitch, then Cody Gilroy hit a two-run double to center.

Butler wasn’t happy with his team’s start.

“They came out with a lot of defensive energy. They were making plays and diving for balls and we were the exact opposite early on,” he said. “Finally we woke up and started playing some baseball.

“That is our 20th win and our boys knew that was there. We had to remain positive when we were down and thankfully we kept our heads up.”

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