Jackets advance to regional with dramatic bi-district championship
They never played where they were supposed to play, but the Kingfisher Yellowjackets still managed to advance to a baseball regional.
KHS wrapped up its Class 4A bi-district Saturday with a 5-1 victory over Madill in eight innings.
The third and decisive game was played at Cashion High School as the Jackets’ Homier Field still wasn’t ready for play due to nearly two inches of rain throughout the previous week.
The decisive game came after the teams split a pair of one-run matchups on Friday at Marlow.
One of them, the would-be clincher for the Jackets in the nightcap, also went extra innings.
Dallen Barton gave up a run to the Wildcats in the bottom of the first inning of Saturday’s game.
His counterpart, Caden McHatton, had a shutout going into the seventh inning.
But - finally - the Jacket offense found a way to produce a run.
Bryce Cockayne led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Jett Braun’s sacrifice bunt.
Coach Stan Blundell sent in Damien Haynes to pinch run for Cockayne and Haynes advanced to third on Brennan Fletcher’s single.
Coleman Gilles brought in the season-saving run with his sacrifice fly to right field as Haynes was able to tag up and score.
Madill got the first two runners on in the bottom of the inning, but Casen Chlouber snagged a line drive to start a double play to help the Jackets escape the inning.
Kingfisher’s offense carried over into the top of the eighth as Bode Williams was hit by a pitch and got to second on Isaiah Medellin’s sac bunt.
Eli Johnson’s double in the next at-bat brought home the go-ahead run.
Then the Jackets got some insurance.
They loaded the bases for Braun, who laid down a squeeze bunt.
The play saw two runners score. Cockayne scored in the next at-bat for the four-run lead.
Barton gave up a walk and a single in the bottom of the eighth, but managed to close out the win.
He allowed just four hits and struck out five in his eight innings of work. The lone run was unearned.
Johnson and Cockayne each had two hits for the Jackets. Braun had 2 RBIs.
The series was supposed to start Thursday in Kingfisher, but rains didn’t allow for it.
They ended up meeting Friday in Marlow.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Jackets loaded the bases for Braun, who came through with a two-run single to knot the score.
It remained there until the sixth when Cockayne scored on an error by Madill’s left fielder.
The game ended when Chase Cooper threw out a Madill runner trying to steal second base.
That gave Johnson the win as the junior provided 3 2/3 innings of relief. Johnson didn’t give up a run and only allowed one hit.
Cockayne and Parker combined to throw the first 3 1/3 innings.
KHS managed just five hits in the game.
Parker and Braun had two each.
That win gave KHS an opportunity to sweep the series and it appeared that would be the case when the Jackets plated four runs in the fifth for an 8-2 lead.
They took that lead into the seventh inning before the wheels came off.
The Wildcats scored six runs before KHS recorded an out.
The rally featured one walk, one hit batter, two Jacket errors and four singles.
Kingfisher managed to get out of the inning without further damage and then re-took a 9-8 lead in the top of the eighth with Johnson’s single to score Chlouber.
Once again, the lead didn’t stick as Madill scored on a single to tie the game, then walked it off with a sacrifice fly.
Johnson drove in three runs for the Jackets and was joined by Williams in collecting two hits.
The even series saw KHS outscore Madill 17-13 overall while both teams had 23 total hits.
Kingfisher was 14-22 after the final win.
The Jackets will head to Tuttle for a four-team, double-elimination regional this week.
KHS and the host Tigers will be joined by Marlow and Harrah.
Following is the TENTATIVE regional schedule (Note: There is potential for rain later this week, which could cause dates and times to change):
Class 4A Regional
Game 1: Tuttle vs. Harrah, 11 a.m.
Game 2: Kingfisher vs. Marlow, 1:30 p.m.
Game 3: Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 4 p.m.
Game 4: Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 6:30 p.m.
Game 5: Winner 4 vs. Loser 3, 4 p.m.
Game 6: Winner 3 vs. Winner 5, 6:30 p.m.
If necessary, 2 p.m.