, Muskogee, OK

June 30, 2013

Heartland Classic heads into final day of action

By Nick Hampton
Phoenix Correspondent

— WARNER — Although some pitching difficulties kept the Warner Eagles from total success, they hit well and gained a split of their games Saturday in Perry Keith’s 13th Heartland All-Star Classic  tournament at the Eagles diamond. They fell to Oklahoma Maroon 11-10 before capping the night by defeating Oklahoma Royal Blue 9-1 in a run-rule five inning game.

In their first encounter of the day, the Eagles pounded Maroon — like all color named teams made up of talent from various high schools on the east side of the state — for a dozen hits and opened up a 10-6 lead going into the sixth inning. But then starting pitcher Levi Jones ran into problems as Maroon used three hits sandwiched around three walks from Jones to cut the Warner lead to one at 10-9.

Dan Weir came in to pitch for Warner in the seventh inning and Vian’s Graylen Fletcher greeted him with a double and then stole third. One out later, Maroon pitcher Alex Driver drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch with Fletcher scoring the tying run. The Eagles then brought Garrett Rice in to pitch and Hunter Holt of Vian drove in what proved to be the winning run with a sacrifice fly to right.

“We were playing with some kids we didn’t know well and we tried to get everyone some innings pitching and it just didn’t work out for us,” said Warner coach Levi Walker.

Despite getting the leadoff  batter on in both the sixth and seventh innings, the Eagles (2-2 overall) were unable to add any more to their run total.

Warner next faced Oklahoma Royal and things went together much better for the Eagles. Nathan Tatum started things off with a double and scored two batters later on a double by Jones. He went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored a sacrifice fly by junior Gage Sparrow to give Warner an early 2-0 lead.

The freshman pitcher Rice, who finished the  first game, went to the hill again to start the second game for the Eagles. Royal  touched him for a run on three singles, the last being an RBI infield hit by Cory Legrand of Mounds. But after that Rice settled in and limited Royal Blue to just two more hits while striking out seven without issuing a walk

“Garrett Rice threw real well in that second game,” said Walker. “He’s really baseball smart and a good kid and that helped out.”

Warner added a run in the second inning and then broke things open with a six run third inning. Senior Clint Kite had the big hit with a two RBI single and Jones,Weir, Shiloh Bullard and Rice all knocked in a run for the Eagles. Although he didn’t have an RBI, Shawn Troutman had the big stick for Warner going three-for-three including two doubles. Jones was two-for-three and Kite two-for-two in the Eagles 11-hit attack.

Matthew Smith and Nicholas Jenkins of Porter, both playing for Royal, were among Rice’s strikeout victims.

The other area group playing as an intact summer team bounced back from a tough first day. Playing on its home field, Hilldale, which lost a pair of games Friday by identical 11-1 scores, began the day with a 16-4 win over Oklahoma Gold. Dawson Hogner was 2-for-3 and drove in three runs. Kyle Dick was 2-for-3 and Zachary Lanius was the winning pitcher.

Hilldale beat White/Red 9-2 as Derek Altman struck out eight in the win. Bailey Puckett drove in three runs with a pair of hits. Altman, Matt Bargsten and Kyle Dick also had two hits apiece.

One of the Hornets’ Friday losses was to Red, which won out on Saturday and will play Navy in today’s championship game, set for 2:30 p.m. at Connors State College’s Biff Thompson Field. Stilwell High assistant Doug Merrie coaches the Red team.

Navy, which lists Hilldale pitcher Hunter Harrison, Eufaula pitcher Trey Moore and Checotah pitcher/outfielder Jack Christian on the roster, plays Warner in one of the final pool games today. Harrison graduated this past spring and Moore is a senior-to-be. Christian will be a junior.

Saturday’s Games

At Warner HS

Purple 3, White/Black 2

Purple 11, White/Royal 3

Maroon 11, Warner 10

Warner 9, Royal 1

At Hilldale HS

Hilldale 16, Gold 4

Red 10, Gold 0

Red 5, White/Black 1

Hilldale 9, White/Red 2

At Connors

Maroon 11. Black 3

Orange 6, Royal 3

Navy 14, Black 7

Navy 11, Orange 2

Today’s games

At Hilldale

Hilldale vs. White/Black, 9 a.m.

Black vs. Royal, 11:30 a.m.

At Warner HS

Purple vs. Gold, 9 a.m.

Warner vs. Navy, 11:30 a.m.

At Connors

Red vs. White/Red, 9 a.m.

Orange vs. Maroon, 11:30 a.m.

Championship, 2:30 p.m.