Payne credited the heat, humidity and the atmosphere to Teague’s performance on the mound.
“He just didn’t have his best stuff out there,” Payne said. “His pitch count got higher than normal.”
Claremore continued to apply pressure in the bottom of the fourth with Tyler Cagle scored on Wood’s RBI-groundout to put the Zebras up 5-2.
Dalton Clifton’s bases loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth increased Claremore’s lead to 6-2, but Chickasha got of the jam as Whatley’s flyout to center field ended the inning with the Zebras leaving three runners on base.
Chickasha opened the top of the sixth with the first two batters reaching on walks and then the Chicks took advantage of a Claremore fielding error to load the bases. Teague’s third walk of the inning allowed Chickasha to cut the deficit to 6-3 with no outs.
Howe took over in relief of Teague and retired the side on three straight strikeouts.
“At that point in the sixth inning, we brought Bryce (Howe) in to get us a out,” Payne said. “He did a great job coming in to close the door and helping us get this hard-fought win.”
Howe struck out six of the seven hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings, with the other one reaching base on a double.
Claremore’s win over Chickasha advanced the Zebras to the state semifinals for the second-straight year.