INOLA – Josh Vick tossed a four-hit shutout and drove in the winning run with a sixth-inning single, lifting Inola to a 1-0 victory over Fort Gibson and the District 4A-7 title on Monday at Longhorn Field.
Inola finished with just two hits, but used three Tiger errors in moving to 20-5 for the season and 10-2 in league play. Fort Gibson also closed 10-2, but lost to the Longhorns 3-2 in extra innings on March 11, handing the championship to the home team.
“I’ve been told we will host the regional for the first time as the No. 1 seed,’’ Inola coach Kerry Hallman said. “We have a good group of kids. I couldn’t ask for better guys.’’
Vick went the distance, striking out four and walking none. Fort Gibson strong armed right hander Christian Jorgensen matched Vick’s totals while permitting just two hits, a swinging bunt single by Landon Reed in the fourth inning and Vick’s game winner in the sixth.
Jorgensen struck Inola leadoff batter Jordan Spurlock with a pitch to open the sixth frame. After Matt Trolinger stuck out, Devin Wiley slapped a ground ball to shortstop Grant Edwards who issued a bad pass to first. Spurlock continued on to third, setting up Vick’s hit into shallow center field, scoring Spurlock with the game’s only run.
In the seventh, Vick forced Michael Adair into a line drive at short, then fanned catcher Carson Ladd and Jorgensen for the final pair of outs, clinching the title.
“I stuck with my fastball and curveball. I just wanted to throw strikes,’’ Vick said. “My (team) defense was stellar today. When the ball came off the bat, I knew it would be caught. I knew we would make the play. Now we’ve got to get ready for the playoffs.’’
The Longhorns’ defense fought successfully through a scary sixth inning. Edwards and center fielder Jace Dortch both singled, placing runners at first and second with one out. Designated hitter Cage Edgemon then sent a bouncing ball to Inola second baseman Brandon Ross who relayed to shortstop Wiley who then fired to first baseman Kyle Gerber to complete the double play.
“We didn’t execute when we needed to execute. That’s what happened, know I mean?’’ Tigers coach Gary Edwards said. “We didn’t play defense today.’’
Fort Gibson committed back-to-back errors in the fifth, allowing DH Cameron Morgan to reach third. Logan Reed proceed to line to second, Morgan was caught in a rundown between third and home and Matt Trolinger grounded out to waste the threat for the Horns. Thanks to Vick, in the end it didn’t matter.
“Vick on the mound gives us a chance to beat anybody we play,’’ Hallman said. “All it takes is a good pitcher to keep teams off balance. Today we fought through pressure and grinded it out.’’