WAGONER — If every fixed seat wasn’t full, lawn chairs made up for it in the second game of the home-and-home series between Wagoner and Hilldale here Tuesday.
After Monday’s 3-2 Hilldale win that ended with an emotional-buzzed collision and out at the plate and had Wagoner coach Benny Nail ejected early on after protesting a reversal of a call on the infield, it seemed appropriate to except more drama.
And it was.
For the Hornets, a pair of two-out surges helped offset a late Wagoner charge and the Hornets escaped with an 8-6 win at Willis Hudlin Field.
With the game knotted at 4 and two outs, Caynen David singled to right, Kielton Siedlik walked, and with David moments later attempting to take third, catcher Sawyer Jones’ throw skipped past third baseman Chase Nanni and into left, scoring David. Caden Thompson then singled, his fourth hit in as many at-bats, drilling a shot into right to score Siedlik and making it 6-4.
Hilldale would need more than that.
Toby Campbell, who went to the mound for the Bulldogs in the fifth inning, struck out Rylan Nail and Joey Myers. Up came the top of the order in Alex Rowland, who doubled to left. After Colby Thompson drew a walk, then Evan Smith doubled to left, scoring Thompson to make it 8-4.
That gave Smith a four-run cushion as he went to the mound for his sixth inning of relief work. After an error by Nail at first started the inning, Braven Bowman reached on an infield error, bringing up the top of the order and Bristo Love.
Love hit into a fielder’s choice force at second, then with Trey Wood up, went to second on defensive indifference. Wood’s single to left brought two runs in as well as two consecutive game-tying batters to the plate in Colton Hill and Darius McNack.
Hill grounded back to Smith, McNack grounded to second baseman Caden Thompson, and Hilldale moved to 13-2, 6-0 and still tied with Fort Gibson atop District 4A-6.
“To do what we did with two outs twice was big,” said Hilldale coach Nathan Frisby. “I think they’re a good team and to go get two wins against them, they’re a tough out. I knew today was going to be tough after the way last night ended.”
In addition to going 4-for-4 on the day, Caden Thompson took one for the team in the sixth on a collision at second.
Gabe Rodriguez, who singled to left with one out, was charging for second on Nanni’s grounder to Thompson, who scooped it a few steps off the bag. Thompson stepped on the base for the force then as he made the throw to Nail at first, Rodriguez clipped Thompson’s leg trying to break up a double play. Nail took the throw for the out, and Thompson, after taking a few steps, fell and received attention. The sophomore got up and managed to walk it off and remain in the game.
“I took it pretty good on my knee and (Nail) made a good play off my throw,” Thompson said. “At the plate, I just felt like I had my timing down really good today.”
Rowland was the other Hornet with more than one hit, going 2-for-4. Smith had three RBIs in a 1-for-3 game and Siedlik was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Smith, who entered after David walked the first batter of the second inning, threw six full, scattering six hits. Three of his four runs were unearned as neither team was particularly keen in the field. Wagoner committed five errors and Hilldale four.
The Hornets finished with 10 hits. Wagoner, led by Bowman’s 2-for-3 game and Wood’s 2-for-4 showing, had seven hits.
“David has been good, but this was a big game and I told him we’d all be on short leashes today and he had some trouble with his command,” Frisby said. “We trust Evan and he went out there and gave us a chance.”
Wood worked four innings, allowing four hits. He walked four and all his four runs were earned. One of Campbell’s four were unearned. He allowed five hits and walked four.
Hilldale and Fort Gibson co-host a tournament starting Thursday and then the two hook up starting Monday in a two-game battle for the 4A-6 lead. Hilldale opens against Sperry at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Wagoner (6-6, 3-4) is in the Victory Christian Tournament on Thursday taking on Metro Christian at 4:30 p.m.