INOLA – Everything appeared in place for a classic showdown between Verdigris and Inola in the 4A regional baseball tournament Thursday at Longhorn Field. Ace pitchers Austin Woods and Josh Vick were on the mound, a trip to the state tourney was at stake and both teams were ready to unleash impressive offensive arsenals.
It didn’t happen that way.
The Cardinals’ bats detonated for 12 runs on 12 hits in the final four innings, creating a 13-2 run-ruled victory over the host team and a spot in the regional championship game.
Woods tossed a complete game win, giving up three hits, striking out five and walking four. At the plate, the imposing junior was one of four Verdigris batters with two hits while also driving in three runs. Catcher Tristen Hilton, shortstop Austyn Willis and left fielder Sloan Roller each added two hits.
· With the victory, Verdigris avenged a 5-4 loss at Inola on April 11 and won for the sixth consecutive time in a 30-4 season. The Longhorns dropped to 22-7 prior to a loser’s bracket game on Friday.
· Third baseman Logan Reed slammed two of Inola’s three hits, but five errors played a major part in the Horns’ demise. Two came in the decisive second inning when Verdigris snapped a 1-1 tie with four runs on five hits.
· Ahead 6-1 in the fourth, the Cardinals piled up another four runs on five hits. Three runs in the fifth inning finished the game with Woods capping it on a two-run base hit into right field.
· Woods pitched out of a possibly dangerous jam in the third after issuing a walk to load the bases with two out. Woods then bore down and used his 3-2 fastball to catch Cameron Morgan swinging.
The day began on a positive note for the Longhorns behind a 16-hit onslaught in an opening round contest. Catcher Matthew Trolinger and pitcher Devin Wiley both punched out three hits with five other Horns adding two.
Inola scored twice in the third to take a 3-2 lead, then delivered an eight-run salvo in the fourth. The Longhorns sent 12 to the plate, producing nine hits, including six straight hits to open an inoperable wound on the Pirates.
Jordan Spurlock had two hits in the inningf, including a double that drove home Landon Reed to give Inola 10-2 lead. The Longhorns surrendered just four hits to the Pirates.
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Cardinal coach Brian Keith was confined to the dugout after arguing an umpire’s call in the third inning, but Verdigris still held on to beat the Savages in the opening round.
Six batters singled for the Cards and relief pitcher Jackson Theis fired 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and whiffing eight in taking the win. Broken Bow pulled into a 1-all tie in the second on Brendan Copeland’s RBI hit, but the Cardinals grabbed a 2-1 lead in third when Woods’ sacrifice fly plated Hilton.
Verdigris added another score in the fifth after starting pitcher Austin Neal skied a bases loaded sacrifice fly to score Ty Moore.
The Cards led 1-0 in the first inning after Hilton walked, stole second and third and ran home on Woods’ single to center field.