Huskie quarterbacks helping to propel area diamond squad

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Huskie quarterbacks helping to propel area diamond squad

Sparked by the Pawhuska duo of Caleb Bruce and Colton Hindman, the Bartlesville Braves American Legion baseball team overcame NOAH, 4-2, Friday.

Bruce, the team’s shortstop, scored the Braves’ initial run and knocked home the winning tallies with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Not to be outdone, Hindman stroked a single in the first and drove a two-out double over the NOAH centerfielder’s head in the fifth.

Hindman also was catcher for the Braves’ winning hurler, Lucas Reitfors, who scattered four hits in picking up the pitching victory at Bartlesville’s Doenges Memorial Stadium. The Bartlesville righthander shut out NOAH after yielding a pair of runs in the first inning.

In addition to their diamond skills, Bruce and Hindman also star on the gridiron for the Pawhuska High School Huskies. As sophomores last season, Hindman started at quarterback and Bruce at running back. Bruce — who also was PHS’s placekicker — took over the signal-calling duties after Hindman sustained a shoulder separation in the seventh game.

Former Pawhuska High School coach Patrick McCarty is in his first season as field manager of the Braves — a AAA class, 17-and-under squad that includes players from a half dozen area communities. McCarty, as the head baseball coach last spring at Barnsdall High School. Other members of the Braves include James Cole, Joe Gott and Payton McCarty of Barnsdall and Colt Wilson and Aaron Hollowell of Hominy.

A second scheduled contest was rained out Friday with NOAH leading, 3-2, in the third inning. But, the Braves were back in action on Saturday, however, when they travelled to Enid for a doubleheader on one of the state’s other premiere baseball stadiums — David Allen Memorial Ball Park.

After losing game one to Enid, 7-1, the Bartlesville squad hammered out an 11-5 triumph in the finale. Hindman and Bruce both hit safely in the twin-bill.

“I think our team is really starting to come together,” said McCartney, who is expecting his squad to make a strong showing during a Independence Day holiday tournament that begins Thursday in Ponca City.

A week earlier, the Braves showed plenty of hear despite dropping a pair of games at home to the Vinita Hornets.

The Hornets finally won the game in extra innings, 7-6 - but at least the Braves had displayed plenty of heart and fight. Vinita took a 3-0 lead in the opening game before Bartlesville rallied back within one. Both Pawhuskans singled, with Bruce’s hit driving home Hindman with the Braves’ first run. Bruce smacked a triple and Hindman had a ground-rule double in game two.

In addition to shortstop, Bruce has also played first base and caught for the Braves and Hindman has also played at shortstop. Both Pawhuska players may also be called upon to pitch. In addition to a health contingent from Bartlesville, other players on the squad are from Oklahoma Union (Dalton Lanning) and Caney, Kan. (Rylee Kyser),

The Braves, who are sponsored by United Linen, will play for the Oklahoma American Legion AAA state championship later this summer.