Hilldale’s Evan Smith tags Maroon’s Joey Thornton in a run-down Friday evening in the first round of the Heartland Baseball  All-Star Classic at Warner High School.

WARNER — A big fourth inning by Maroon spoiled a home coming of sorts for Nathan Frisby as his Hilldale team dropped an 8-0 run-rule decision in their opening game of the Heartland Baseball Classic at Warner High School. 

But for the former long-time Hilldale assistant and Muskogee High head coach who was named head coach at Hilldale just a couple of weeks ago, it’s not really a big deal at this point.

“All these games we’re playing now, we’re just trying to learn each other,” he said. “They don’t know me, we haven’t had any practices, I don’t really know what any of them can do,  so we’re rotating the lineup a lot to see everyone play and if we happen to win, that’s just a bonus.”

Hilldale is the lone school team in a showcase field made of players from Oklahoma and Arkansas picked in tryouts earlier this summer.

The Hornets started off strong against Maroon pitcher Kazdion Mount from Jay as they loaded the bases with no outs, but Mount got a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to get out of trouble and was never really threatened again as he scattered four hits.

“I got myself in trouble in the first. I let the first kid on with a fat fastball for a hit and then I walked the next two, but I worked my way out of it,” said Mount.

Maroon got on the board in their half of the first after a leadoff triple by Reece Garcia from Coalgate and an RBI single by Brodrick Smith of Purcell. Kazdion and Hilldale pitcher Kielton Siedlik rocked along from there until the Maroon fourth when the roof fell in on Siedlik.

Garcia led off getting hit by a pitch and then Reed Wilbanks from Siloam Springs blasted a shot over the left field wall to make it 3-0. With one out Maroon loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice, a single and a walk. Mason Willingham brought a run in with a hit, a walk forced in another run and Siedlik, who was charged with all eight Maroon runs, gave way to Rylan Nail. 

After Nail struck out Wyatt Gibson, he was touched for a two-run single by Remington Gibson of McCurtain and the final run came in on a hit by Braxton Ashmore of Newcastle.

Despite the loss, Frisby is happy to return to Hornet land and is already looking forward to next spring.

“I’m excited. It’s home for me. I went to school at Hilldale as did my wife and other members of my family and I live here,” he said. 

“I’m really optimistic from what I’ve seen in the two weeks I’ve been here. I told the kids we’re going to be a lot better by next March. I think it’s going to be all right.”

Hilldale will continue pool play Saturday in the tournament with back-to-back games at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. at Warner High.

In other action on Friday, six-time champion Navy, coached by new Porter coach Jared Webster, won over Purple 16-4. One local is on the Navy roster: Ryan Hunter of Muskogee.

Red, Gold, Orange and Vegas Gold were also winners. 

The tournament wraps up on Sunday with semfinals featuring the four pool winners and the championship game to follow.

Other area players competing: 

Orange: Caden Miller, Midway; Deegan Herrman, Haskell.

Teal: Bryson Ziegler, Midway; William Hood, Midway.

Carolina Blue: Jakoby Gouldsby, Haskell.

Purple: Clayton Carter, Porum; Richard Huronome, Midway.

Gray: Michael Johnson, Porum; Thane Patterson, Braggs; Daryn Herriman, Midway; Logan Lees, Midway.

Navy: Ryan Hunter, Muskogee. Coach: Jared Webster, Porter.

Red: Brody Cannon, Warner.

Black: Jacob Lakeman, Porum; Caden Martin, Checotah; Brock Butler, Checotah.

Vegas Gold, Maroon, Green: No area players.

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