MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

March 12, 2014

Fort Gibson strikes late to down Wagoner

FORT GIBSON —Sometimes it takes a while for a young player to develop, especially at the high school level.  

Give credit to Fort Gibson’s catcher Tristan Leonard for developing quickly, exemplified in his team’s 6-4 win Tuesday against Wagoner.

With the game tied at 4, Leonard’s double over the Wagoner right fielder’s head drove in two runs to put the Tigers (1-1) up for good and helped seal the victory.  He finished the day 2-for-3 at the plate.

“Our catcher did a great job today.  He did an excellent job blocking the ball and came up with the big hit in the sixth,”  said Fort Gibson head coach Randy Smith.  "He was our JV catcher last year and now he’s playing like a trooper."

“I was just trying to get the bat on the ball and hit to the right side to move the runners,” said Leonard after the game.  “He threw me a fastball that was outside and I just went with the pitch.”  

Wagoner (0-2) appeared to have the upper hand in the top of the first inning when Tiger starting pitcher Tristan Johnson walked Garrett Brown and Tyler Milligan to start the game, but Johnson  struck out the next three batters to end the threat.  

Fort Gibson’s Zach Drain led off the bottom of the first with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch.  The Tigers plated another run in the third when Bubba Stone drew a walk and scored on a Markie Carman single.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to one after a monster blast over the right field fence by Wyat Grooms.  But Fort Gibson increased their lead in the fifth inning when Leonard picked up his first hit of the game and scored on Stone’s single to right field.  Stone scored on a wild pitch to put the Tigers up 4-2.

The Bulldogs would not go away. Bailey Darr drew a walk and scored on Preston Whitten’s double to center field and then scored on Brown’s single to right.

With the game tied at 4, it was time for Leonard’s heroics.  

Will Rumbley doubled to open the bottom of the sixth and Colton Dorris drew the fourth walk of the game given up by Wagoner’s Tyler Milligan, bringing Leonard to the plate.

 “We had too many free bags, we walked some and the walks hurt you,” said Wagoner coach Larry Milligan.  “Same thing for them, they gave us some and we scored.  It’s early and the first two games that we play, we play Catoosa and Fort Gibson, two of the best teams in the state.”  

Johnson struck out four in two innings before being relieved by Braden Williams.  Williams tossed 3 1/3 innings giving up four runs on three hits with one strikeout.  Rumbley picked up the win tossing 1 2/3 innings with one hit and had one strike out.  

Milligan went the distance for Wagoner, giving up six runs on six hits and walking four while striking out eight.

Fort Gibson  plays Dewey at the Sperry Tournament, while Wagoner will host  Oologah, both on Thursday.

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