The hosts of what is being called the Shootout at the Fort — which is not just being played at Fort Gibson but also at Hilldale — survived an early takeover of the Fort on Thursday and advanced closer to being the conquerors at the Fort.
Fort Gibson fought back from a 5-0 first inning deficit against Tecumseh with four in the third and another four in the fourth to take charge, winning 9-5. A two-run double by Cole Mahaney followed Brody Rainbolt’s RBI double. In the fourth, a misplayed ball in right field with Weston Rouse batting turned into a three-run error. It was the second error there in the inning as Wyatt Pierce hit one in that direction to score the tying run.
Hunter Bridges allowed three runs on 17 pitches without retiring anybody. Rainbolt worked five innings of middle relief for the win, giving up four hits and striking out six. Pierce threw two hitless innings to cap the win, which puts the Tigers (16-1) into a 5 p.m. semifinal opposite Oktaha, a 2-1 winner over Sallisaw.
Oktaha’s Gabe Hamilton grounded into a fielder’s choice with one out in the seventh to score Kannon Robinson. Hamilton had one of Oktaha’s three hits in the game, the others from Mason Ledford and Tucker Christian. Jakob Blackwell struck out five and scattered five hits over seven innings.
Oktaha (11-7) opened with an 8-0 win over Skiatook. Tyler Allen did most of the work, holding Skiatook to one hit while walking two with three strikeouts. He had a no-hitter spoiled with one out in the sixth. He was also 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Brody Surmont drove in a pair in a 1-for-2 game.
On the other side of the bracket, any chance of a Fort Gibson-Hilldale finals as a tune-up for two battles next Monday and Tuesday between the unbeaten 4A-6 co-leaders fizzled early.
Hilldale fell into a 6-1 hole thanks to a pair of three-run innings and lost 9-5 to Sperry in the first round at Hilldale. The Hornets (13-3), ending a six-game win streak with the loss, had just two hits. Colby Thompson singled and scored the first run in the Hornet first on Caynen David’s single. Rylan Nail gave up five hits over five innings with five of his seven runs unearned. Hilldale had four errors.
Red Oak, a 9-1 winner over McAlester, will play Verdigris, a 9-3 winner over Sperry, in the other semifinal, which will follow Fort Gibson-Oktaha.
Hilldale, meanwhile, will play Jay in a consolation game at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Hilldale.