By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Timberwolves were nearly back to full strength on Thursday, but that wasn’t enough against a Tuttle lineup that delivered timely hits when needed and pulled away late for a 7-3 victory over North on Thursday.
Tuttle, ranked sixth in Class 4A, jumped on North early, scoring three runs in the second, and finished strong by adding another three in the seventh inning to turn a narrow 4-3 game into a 7-3 advantage.
While the Tigers had their way at the plate, to the tune of nine hits against four North pitchers, Conner Litterell nearly pitched a complete game for Tuttle. Going 62⁄3 innings, he allowed just four hits.
As good as Tuttle (12-3) was on Thursday, the T-Wolves (9-4) did just as much to hurt themselves. They allowed four walks and committed four fielding errors, all of which helped the Tigers bring in extra runs.
“When you commit as many errors as you have hits and you can’t throw strikes except over the middle of the plate, that’s a recipe for a loss,” coach Brian Aylor said. “That’s not the way you win a game.”
Playing without several injured players including DJ Gasso and Joe Nostrand, the T-Wolves entered the game with an unfamiliar lineup, and it showed. The one bright spot at the plate was freshman Leo Gallegos, who went 2 for 3 with an RBI in his varsity debut.
North also added two runs in the fourth inning after loading the bases with one out. That tied the game at 3 runs apiece, but Tuttle immediately broke through in its next at-bat, taking advantage of a North error in the fifth to retake the lead.
The game was North’s third in four days and first with everyone back on the field who was suspended for the brawl that broke out last weekend in a game with Arlington Country Day at a tournament in Pensacola, Fla. Repercussions from that altercation and the ensuing developments were still being felt Thursday.
“This has been a long week,” Aylor said. “This isn’t the same team that went to Florida. Physically we’re missing some pieces, but emotionally it’s also taken a toll as well. This is something we’re going to have to play through.”
Aylor said that he’s confident his team will emerge stronger from the experience even though it’s not immediately apparent.
“This is a lot of adversity this team has had to face,” he said. “They have to fight through it and come out of it stronger, and I’m confident they will. But it’s going to take some time.”
Follow me @Chosler88
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.