By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Amidst the 17 runs the two teams combined for at Hornet Field on Friday, it was a defensive play that was the difference.
Hilldale freshman catcher Aaron Sanders threw out Glenpool’s Ryan McCutcheon trying to steal third base in the sixth inning as the Hornets outlasted the Warriors 10-7.
With one out and the Hornets up by what wound up as the final three-run margin, McCutcheon walked to reach base. After his brother Nolan McCutcheon singled, Ryan McCutcheon tried to steal as a pitch to Kyle Price was wide of the plate. Sanders snared the pitch and fired it to third baseman Hunter Harrison for the second out of the inning.
“That was a huge play,” Hilldale coach Darren Riddle said. “He made a great play. A lot of times the ball goes through to the backstop on a play like that. That pitch was in the dirt and you got to have good hands to make a play like that.”
Sanders, who takes over a position that Texas Tech’s Jarrard Poteete manned the past four seasons, put aside some fear when the play began to develop.
“I thought I was going to miss it,” he said. “I saw (Ryan McCutcheon) was halfway toward third when it just kicked in for me and I decided to throw it.”
The play loomed large as the Warriors eventually loaded the bases. But E.J. Bierman grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Hornets, winning their second straight game after four straight losses dropped them 14 spots from a preseason No. 3 spot in the Okrankings Class 4A coaches poll, improved to 3-4 overall and showed some pop at the plate. Hilldale hammered Checotah 11-5 on Tuesday.
With a strong wind blowing out to right center field, the Hornets’ Miles Jackson and Scott Rodden each hit solo home runs. Jackson led off the bottom of the first inning and Rodden slugged his with one out in the third.
Rodden also drove in a run with a double in a five-run second inning. Isaac Isham had two-run single in the inning. Right fielder Cameron Orman got into the act with a two-run single of his own in the three-run third.
“Our guys swung the bats better than we have,” Riddle said. “We were more selective. We swung it pretty well.”
Riede picked up the pitching win to improve to 1-1 and Altman, who took the mound in the fifth, earned his first save.
After the sixth, Glenpool tried to mount another rally. With one out, Cade Bridges walked and Garrett Price singled. Dusty Hale hit a fly out to center field and Patrick O’Toole lined to second baseman Isham to end the game.
Kyle Price slugged a two-run home run in the Warriors’ four-run fifth.
The Hornets are at home for a noon game today against 4A No. 6 Oologah.