OKTAHA — Whatever magic formula Pawhuska used to sneak past the Haskell Haymakers in its early games at the Class 2A High School Regional Baseball Tournament had obviously lost its charm by the time the Huskies faced the tourney hosting Oktaha Tigers.
In Friday’s finale, just as they did in Thursday’s winners-bracket showdown, the Tigers built 12-run leads en route to lopsided triumphs over the Huskies. Oktaha improved to 29-4 on the season and solidified its No. 1 ranking heading into next week’s Class 2A state tournament.
Pawhuska finished the 2017 campaign with a 14-11 mark, but coach Brian Edwards’ Huskies also staked their claim as a top-20 team by winning two Regional nail-biters over No. 19-ranked Haskell. Thursday, PHS senior Caleb Bruce pitched a five-hit shutout against the Haymakers. Randsom Jones, the Huskies’ sophomore southpaw, posted a one-hit, 3-1 triumph versus Haskell on Friday.
Pawhuska squeezed maximum benefit from its only hit in Thursday’s 1-0 win. With one out in the sixth inning, freshman Corbin McCarty singled off an 0-2 pitch, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a two-out error. Bruce then retired Haskell in order, ending the contest with his seventh strikeout.
The Haymakers stranded six baserunners and had men in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth, while Pawhuska didn’t even have a baserunner until the fifth. On its initial at-bat, Haskell had runners at the corners with one out before Bruce got a pickoff at first and induced the next batter to fly out. Three straight Haymakers reached base in the fifth, but none crossed the plate. The leadoff hitter was thrown out attempting to steal second, then a walk and single were followed by consecutive popouts.
Regional champ Oktaha defeated Wellston, 10-1, in the Thursday’s tourney opener. The Tigers topped the Huskies by scores of 17-3 and 15-0.
Oktaha built a 12-0 lead over the Huskies en route to a 17-3 victory.
Pawhuska committed seven errors that cleared the way for 12 unearned runs. The Tigers also collected a dozen hits while benefitting from seven bases on balls and two hit batsmen.
The Huskies combined for seven hits, including two apiece by Braydon Wilson and Payton McCarty. Pawhuska scored all three of its runs in the fourth on bases-loaded singles by Corbin and Payton McCarty. Randsom Jones and Hunter Reed had PHS’ other hits.
Bruce pitched a five-hit shutout in the 1-0 win over Haskell, 2A’s 19th-rated team. After the lone run scored on a two-out error in the bottom of the sixth, Bruce retired the Haymakers in order in the seventh, recording his seventh strikeout to end the contest.
Corbin McCarty singled on an 0-2 pitch with one out in the sixth for Pawhuska’s only hit. The freshman advanced to second base on a ground out by his brother, Payton McCarty, and came around to score when Bruce’s grounder to short resulted in a wild throw to first.