By Nick Hampton
WAGONER – Another day, another win, another no-hitter. It’s all in a day’s work for Class 4A’s top-ranked Hilldale Lady Hornets.
In workman-like fashion, Hilldale (28-4) closed out its regular season schedule by repeating an earlier 12-0 verdict over the Lady Bulldogs of Wagoner in a run-rule shortened, four-inning contest at the Wagoner sports complex on Tuesday.
Destiny Riddle, after slightly injuring her hand in Monday’s win over Oologah, had another no-hitter while striking out six to run her record to 23-3.
Wagoner (14-13) actually had the first scoring opportunity in the game in the first inning. After retiring the first two Lady Bulldogs, Riddle issued a walk to Cherokee Ridge and hit Abbie Hanney with a pitch. A wild pitch then moved the runners to second and third but Riddle struck out Mallory Smith to end the inning.
Wagoner pitcher Breezy Pruitt surrendered a run in the second inning to keep it close. But in the third inning, the Lady Hornets broke out the lumber as they sent 15 batters to the plate.
The first seven Hilldale batters got base hits driving Pruitt from the mound in favor of Kaitlyn Collins. Casady Mills, McKensie Plant and Sarah Hughey all recorded RBIs. Catcher Kyla Ibarra plated two runs and the inning was highlighted by a two-run homer off the bat of Hillary Calvert.
“We knew we had to come out here and stay focused and have good quality at bats,” said Calvert. “I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. Coach Riddle said just stay in the zone and hit the ball hard.”
Darren Riddle was pleased with the win as he discussed the somewhat slow start for the Lady Hornets.
“You know, we looked at two different kinds of pitchers from yesterday (against Oologah) and today and so it took us a couple of innings to get adjusted,” said Riddle. “We swung the bat really well today once we got going and had good quality at bats and so I was proud of them.”
For Wagoner Coach Emily Williams, it was a disappointing, but somewhat understandable result given the opponent.
“We started off better than we did last time against them and we had a chance to score there in the first inning, but couldn’t do anything with it,” said Williams. “I felt like we left the ball out over the plate too much with our pitching and they just hammered it down our throat. They’re just a good ball club on offense and defense and solid up and down the lineup.”
And now the question for Hilldale becomes what next? Riddle hopes to find some games to schedule over the next week and a half to keep the Lady Hornets sharp as they have a bye into the regionals.
A possibility could be a couple of games against Fort Gibson who also has a bye into the regionals. The Lady Hornets have played the Lady Tigers three times this season and lost two out of the three. Should that take place, it could also end the debate as to who the No. 1 team is in Class 4A.