By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Fresh off one of the worst defeats of the season, a loss to Norman High that gave the Tigers the season sweep in the Crosstown Clash, Norman North was in need of a big win.
And the Timberwolves delivered with their biggest win of the season.
Thanks to some timely hitting and a two-hit, nine-strikeout performance by starter Brad Kinsey, North defeated Westmoore 3-2 in a come-from-behind victory that puts them in the driver’s seat in District 6A-2.
Westmoore jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, and starter Kyle Tyler was rolling through the lineup on his way to seven strikeouts. But North finally broke though in the fifth inning when Colton Hansmeyer doubled in a run and scored himself on a throwing error.
That set the stage for the next inning, when Joe Nostrand singled Thomas Hughes to third and Hughes scored on a passed ball several pitches later.
“We kind of called them out after the adversity last week,” coach Brian Aylor said of this team. “I told them all I care about is how tough and how much you’re willing to fight. And they fought today.”
None more than Kinsey, who walked five and watched his defense make a pair of errors behind him but came through when it mattered most. Trying desperately to keep the deficit to two runs when Westmoore loaded the bases in the top of the fifth, Kinsey settled in after a quick meeting at the mound and came back with two straight strikeouts to end the threat. He went on to work the sixth cleanly and recording the first out of the seventh on a strikeout before giving way to Austin Cranford to pick up the save.
“After he settled down he kept getting better as the game went on,” Aylor said. “That’s the sign of a really good pitcher, that they get better late.”
As big as the victory was for North, all bets are off when they meet Westmoore for the second game in the series tonight, a 7 p.m. contest the T-Wolves will have to play on the road. Because North won by just one run, tiebreak math dictates that tonight’s contest will amount to a district title game.
North and Westmoore both entered the contest 12-0, and North now holds a one-game after staying undefeated. But the first tiebreaker is run differential, which means if North loses by just one run the two teams would again be tied at the top. In that case, the winner is determined by the latest result, which will be determined tonight.
While both teams are guaranteed to host a regional, North’s goal all season has been to win the district. That makes tonight’s contest a must-win.
“Winning district means more to these guys than everything else this season,” Aylor said after the game. “I hope tonight will give them more confidence, and I hope they get it done and end the season with a victory on the road to win the district. They’ve worked hard, and they deserve it.”
Norman High 8, Sand Springs 6: It was the final home game for the Tigers’ seniors, and they made it a night to remember.
Dax Marley led the way with four RBIs in his final contest at NHS, while senior Sam Richison also added three more for the Tigers in a 8-6 victory over Sand Springs in a wild game that came down to the final inning.
NHS (18-11) built a big lead early, only to watch Sand Springs chip away as the game went on. NHS led 8-2 through five innings but Sand Springs stormed back to add a pair in the sixth and two more in the seventh before the Tigers finally closed out the game and their fourth district victory of the season.
Jason Burt earned the start for NHS and looked strong early before Sand Springs began to get to him in the final two innings. He went six innings and gave up six hits to pick up the win, while Braeden Armstrong entered in the seventh and picked up three outs without allowing a hit to secure the save.
The Tigers will return to the field when they travel to Sand Springs for a 6 p.m. game tonight.
Follow me @Chosler88
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.