Fort Gibson Tigers

  FORT GIBSON—Tiger pitchers Grant Edwards and freshman Wyatt Pierce teamed up to limit Class B powerhouse Red Oak to just two hits.

Meanwhile, their Fort Gibson teammates did a great job of executing the small ball game to beat the Eagles 3-1 and capture the Shootout at the Fort baseball tournament championship Saturday night at Carr-O'Dell Tiger Park.

    Edwards hurled three innings giving up the one run and both Red Oak hits while Pierce pitched four innings of hitless ball against the No.2-ranked team in Class B that’s averaged eight runs a game in a 15-2 season.

   “I was a little nervous at first but then I started doing really good and wasn’t nervous anymore,” said Pierce. “My changeup was definitely my best pitch tonight.”

    The game started ominously for the Tigers, now 18-1, as Edwards surrendered a lead-off double to open the game but got the next three hitters to ground out or strike out leaving the Eagle runner stranded. Meanwhile, Fort Gibson capitalized on uncharacteristic Red Oak errors and pitching difficulties by Eagle starter Austin Place to get on the board in the home half of the first.

Pierce led off with a walk and Edwards reached on a bunt that was misplayed by the catcher. Edwards got caught in a pickoff rundown between first and second allowing Pierce to move to third. After a walk by Weston Rouse, Cody Walkingstick reached on the second error Red Oak error of the inning, scoring Pierce for a 1-0 lead.

    Red Oak tied it up in the second on a walk by Chance Noah, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single by Casen Hood.

   The Tigers would get all the runs they would need in the second inning. Cole Mahaney started it off with a walk followed by a Jaiden Graves single. An errant pickoff attempt at second allowed Mahaney to score, but Graves was thrown out trying to go to third by the Red Oak center fielder.

Landon Nail continued the small ball game with a bunt single, advanced to second on a ground out, went to third on a hit by Pierce and scored on wild pitch to give the Tigers  a 3-1 edge.

   From there on the two teams combined for just one hit over the final five innings.

   “This game was lot of fun,” said Tiger coach Gary Edwards. “Red Oak has got a great team and I knew our team was going to have come out and throw strikes and play defense and we did. Grant and Wyatt came in and did a good job and the whole team played great around them. It was just a good team effort tonight.”

   The Tiger pitchers notched seven strikeouts on the night while the defense played error-free ball en route to their 10th consecutive win. They'll face Hilldale in a two-game home-and-home series starting Monday at Fort Gibson in a battle of unbeaten co-leaders in District 4A-6.

***

   In the consolation game, Verdigris broke open a 2-2 game against Oktaha with a three-run fourth inning and built the lead to 11-2 before ultimately wining by a 12-4 count.  Verdigris pitcher Aaron Buntin scattered six Tiger hits in four-plus innings to capture the win. Tucker Christian was 1-for-2 at the plate for Oktaha (11-9) with two RBIs.

   Fort Gibson returns to district action next week with a home-and-home series against Hilldale starting at Fort Gibson Monday.

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