By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — In a game crucial to the district race at Norman North, it was senior DJ Gasso who came out on top a pitchers’ duel Tuesday.
Gasso pitched a complete-game shutout to top Putnam City North freshman Bob English to pull out the 2-0 victory for North.
Gasso allowed just four hits in seven innings of work to earn the win in a game pivotal to North’s goal of winning the district and hosting a regional. The win moved North to 8-1 in the district and the T-Wolves hold a two-game lead over Westmoore in the district.
After a bout of hitting in a 9-3 win over the Panthers (6-10) on Monday, it was a defensive battle Tuesday. English and Gasso dueled from the start, though the T-Wolves (15-5) were able to take advantage of several Panther mistakes to control the game.
In the first inning, Luke Jones drew a walk to open the game and advanced to second when Daniel Herron was hit by a pitch. After Jones stole third, Joe Nostrand hit a hard grounder to third base. Though the ball was fielded cleanly, the throw to home was a bit wide, allowing Jones to slide in under the tag and put the T-Wolves on top.
Jones added another run in the third inning when a Putnam City North throwing error behind third base allowed him push the North lead to 2-0. That was more than enough for Gasso, who didn’t allow the Panthers to threaten again after that. The only major threat Putnam City North presented was in the second inning when the Panthers put the first two runners on. But Gasso responded by striking out three straight batters to end the threat.
“With another district game on Friday at Southmoore, we really needed a long outing from DJ today and he did a great job,” coach Brian Aylor said. “He’s a fantastic athlete who came out and did exactly what we needed. He got the ground balls when he needed them and trusted his defense behind him.”
North is off for two days before traveling to Southmoore to make up a rained-out district game on Friday.
“Physically we’re getting to that point of the year where the guys are tired,” Aylor said. “Having a few days off will be good for us to get their legs back under them.”
And with five district games remaining, including a showdown series with Westmoore next week, North controls its own playoff destiny. And after a late-season collapse a year ago that cost the team their shot to host the regional tournament, the T-Wolves are focused on avoiding a repeat.
“Whatever happens now, it’s on us,” said Gasso, who threw his first complete game of the season Tuesday. “We’re where we want to be, we just have to finish out the season strong.”
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